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Success stories

Renaldo
Renaldo says he can see his future: a successful career, a thriving family, and a man who is “not just good but great.” At 21 years old, he has already far surpassed most of his neighborhood peers as an Overhead Electrical Lineworker Apprentice for Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), one of the nation’s largest electricity providers.

Proudly displaying his crisp ComEd uniform, Renaldo leaves little trace of the world he left behind—dropping out of high school at 16, struggling with his father’s multiple stints in prison, and losing one of his brothers to gang violence.

He credits his E&ES Youth Career Counselor Betty Reid-Williams at the Chicago Workforce Center at Mid-South—to him, the reverent ‘Ms. Williams’—for where he is today.  

“I love her for helping me out,” he explains. “She went above and beyond.”

Betty first met Renaldo when he visited Mid-South to learn about its services. He heard that the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program provided vocational training vouchers for eligible individuals. Although he didn’t even have a place to stay at the time, Renaldo was determined to enroll in the ComEd-sponsored Overhead Electrical Lineworker program at Kennedy-King College’s Dawson Technical Institute.


“After my first meeting with Renaldo, I thought, ‘This is an exceptionally bright young man,’” explains Betty. Impressed with his level of focus and determination, she helped him obtain a training voucher, which he didn't hesitate to use for Dawson's program.

“I always had my eyes set on ComEd,” he says.

Betty tried to investigate alternatives, keeping Renaldo’s options open in case his dream program fell through. 

“I told him they only hire the best of the best—to which he responded, ‘I am the best of the best!’”

While perhaps preemptive, his claim proved true. Renaldo graduated at the top of his class with a 3.9 GPA and landed an apprentice position right out the program, a job he’s still enjoying today.

“I love my job—I want to work with this company the rest of my life,” he explains.
 

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