Nicor Gas has finished its brand new training center, which sits right next door to the company’s Naperville corporate office.
“It’s important because training is the core of our business. What we do is provide safe, reliable, and affordable natural gas and we do that by training our employees who provide service to our customers, businesses throughout the state, as well as families in the state. We serve over 2.2 million customers and training is our core,” explained Nicor President Melvin Williams.
The 21,000 square foot building received a special welcome from the community at a recent open house, where speeches by commissioners and a tour through the facility were given.
“We saw ahead of time that there was going to be a lot of turnover – an aging workforce and looking at the amount of traffic and the amount of students that would come through here, the old building just wasn’t adequate. So this doubles in size and scope, and right now we’re going through some of the heaviest amounts of students that we’ve seen in Nicor’s history,” said Greg Konwinski, the director of field training at Nicor.
Some of the biggest improvements employees will get to take advantage of are seven new classrooms, a slip simulator, and labs for welding, piping, meter reading, and appliances.
“The re-light and hazard checking on an appliance in the old building was just a small area with a couple pieces of equipment,” said Konwinski. “And in the new building we were really able to expand that out to include commercial cooking equipment, some of the new water heater technology that’s there, and we did bring, consciously, some of the vintage equipment with because that’s the reality of what people will find in residential situations.”
The new training center will service thousands of new employees in the coming years, as over 1,000 jobs were created in just the past three years from Nicor.
“Our employees are pleased because we’re not only investing in our communities, we’re investing in our employees, and we’re investing in the future of our state,” added Williams.
Nicor Gas’ new training center was planned to cost $12 million and finished just under budget.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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