Training and Education

Training and education

Whether the goal is a first job, a fresh start, a better job, or the specialized
knowledge to do a job safely, OAI’s education and training programs are
designed to meet real-world needs.

Every training leads to credentials

Certificates and licenses prove trainees have what employers need. Every credential earned adds value to a worker’s resume.

Every course is built on industry best practice

Talented, experienced trainers use multiple methods and media to make content accessible. Courses include hands-on practice, integrated supports, and ongoing coaching; some include placement.

Every program
tracks success

We measure our success by the success of our graduates. We want to do a great job today, and a better one tomorrow.

Explore our trainings for job seekers or workers.

For job seekers

Entering or re-entering the workforce isn’t easy, and not everyone who wants a job is ready or able to put in the effort required. Our innovative “Try-Outs” process gives candidates a chance to test their commitment and ensures that the people we accept into training are ready for the challenge.

Once accepted, OAI trainees can count on high-quality instruction and a curriculum designed to develop marketable, real-world skills. They can also count on an extraordinary level of support. From extra tutoring and self-paced course review to job interview coaching to help with emergency housing, we help trainees overcome the barriers that stand between them and success.

Environmental Careers Worker Training

One of OAI’s core programs, Environmental Careers Worker Training (ECWT) offers hands-on, entry-level preparation for careers in environmental remediation, construction, hazardous waste handling, restoration, and related industries.


Who participates

Unemployed or underemployed individuals

Course work and credentials
The ECWT program covers basic carpentry, shop, and environmental, health, and safety training, plus life skills, basic education (industry-related language and math, computer literacy, etc.), and professional development. Training is conducted in class and on site to provide students with theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience. Students have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized health and safety-related certifications or licenses such as

  • Hazardous Waste handling
  • OSHA 10-hr. Worker Safety
  • Forklift Operations
  • Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting
  • Confined Space Entry
  • Lock-out/Tag-out
  • Blueprint Reading
  • First Aid CPR
  • Blood Borne Pathogens

Post-training services
Job placement assistance, post-training follow-up tracking, career coaching, support services, and mentoring.

Where
Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City

How to enroll
For more information or to enroll, contact Kentina Kellum at (312) 528-3500

Funding partners
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Lloyd A. Fry Foundation
McCormick Foundation

Chicago Greencorps

For more than 15 years, OAI has partnered with Greencorps Chicago, a City of Chicago green industry job training program for individuals with barrier to employment. Greencorps Chicago promotes environmental stewardship and improves the quality of life in Chicago by establishing, maintaining and restoring natural and public spaces that are safe, healthy, and sustainable through hands-on involvement with program participants. The outcome is healthier, safer, and more engaged communities and individuals who are prepared for employment through practical field experience and technical training in a variety of environmentally related jobs. Greencorps Chicago is a public/private partnership between the Chicago Department of Transportation and WRD Environmental. Visit https://greencorpschicago.org for more information on the program.


Who participates

City of Chicago residents who are unemployed or underemployed

Course work and credentials

During this nine-month program, trainees receive practical experience, professional development, and training in a variety of environmentally-related jobs with skills that easily transfer to other industries. Classroom and hands-on training are complemented by work experience in areas such as horticulture, tree care, landscaping, green infrastructure, and ecological restoration. In the field, trainees work alongside personnel from the Chicago Park District, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, and other public/private community partners.

Trainees can earn industry-recognized environmental-related certifications or licenses such as

  • 40-hr. HAZWOPER
  • OSHA 10-hr. Worker Safety
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Chicago Wilderness Prescription Burn
  • Illinois Pesticide Certification

Post-training services
Job placement assistance, post-training follow-up tracking, career coaching, support services, and mentoring.

Where
Chicago

How to enroll
For more information or to enroll, visit https://greencorpschicago.org  or contact Greencorps at (312) 746-9777

Funding partners
US Environmental Protection Agency
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
City of Chicago Department of Transportation
Chicago Park District
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
US Forest Service
City Colleges of Chicago

LYTE Solar Pipeline Training Program

One of OAI’s newest programs, LYTE Solar Pipeline Training Program, offers hands-on, entry-level preparation for participants to obtain recognized industry certifications and become a qualified solar installer.

 

Who participates
Economically disadvantaged residents including returning citizens, minorities, current and former foster children, women and veterans living in and around environmental justice communities in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

Course work and credentials
During each 10-week cohort, students will prepare for entry-level employment as a designer, installer, troubleshooter, and maintenance technician for solar-photovoltaic power systems. Curricula will include training in solar installation and solar site assessor, basic carpentry, hazardous waste handling and safety training, plus life skills, basic education (industry-related language and math, computer literacy, etc.), and professional development. Students have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certifications or licenses such as:

  • Solar Installer
  • MREA PV Solar Site Assessor
  • OSHA 10-hr. Worker Safety/Fall Protection
  • Hazardous Waste handling
  • Forklift Operations
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Basic Carpentry

Post-training services
Job placement assistance, post-training follow-up tracking, career coaching, support services, and mentoring.

Where
Cook County and Will County

How to enroll
For more information or to enroll, contact Kentina Kellum at (312) 528-3500

Funding partners
ComEd
Boeing Foundation

Strengthening Working Families Initiative in Chicago Southland

Parents face an extra barrier to employment and training: finding safe, affordable child care. The Strengthening Working Families Initiative provides parents with hands-on technical education and training in healthcare, manufacturing, or information technology and connects them to the child care resources they need to succeed. Beyond training, initiative partners are working together to make finding and accessing child care easier for all job seekers.


Who participates

Working parents, particularly those with low incomes and low skills

Course work and credentials
Course work leading to the following credentials is offered in partnership with south suburban community colleges. With the help of OAI staff, trainees choose a training track based on their interests and skills.


Manufacturing track

  • Welding Certification
  • Forklift Certification
  • CNC Machining


Healthcare track

  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Registered Nurse


Information technology track

  • IT Programming Certification
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Computer Support Specialist
  • Network & Systems Administrator


Post-training services
Job placement assistance, post-training follow-up tracking, career coaching, support services, and mentoring.

Where
Chicago Southland, specifically 43 communities experiencing high concentrations of poverty, unemployment, and crime and low high school graduation rates

How to enroll
For more information or to enroll, contact Shane Pfeifer at (708) 283-5020

Initiative partners
National Able Network
Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation
Prairie State College
South Suburban College
Illinois Action for Children
Chicago Jobs Council

Funding partner
U.S. Department of Labor

Calumet Green Manufacturing Partnership

This collaborative partnership identifies and addresses the labor-market needs of manufacturing companies within the Calumet region, where a shortage of skilled workers and an aging workforce threaten productivity.

Who participates
Unemployed or underemployed individuals

Course work and credentials
Technical training and certification options include

  • Computer Numerical Control/National Institute Metalworking Skills Certification
  • Nondestructive Testing
  • Welding
  • Certified Production Technician/ Manufacturing Skills Stands Council Certification

Post-training services
Job placement assistance, post-training follow-up tracking, career coaching, support services, and mentoring.

Where
Training locations include Prairie State, Moraine Valley, and South Suburban Colleges and Rich East High School in the Calumet region of metropolitan Chicago

How to enroll
For more information or to enroll, contact Kreshina Ingram at (708) 283-5020

Funding partner

Cook County Community Development Block Grant

Opportunity Works

The Opportunity Works internship program puts young adults on the fast track to steady employment with a job readiness boot camp followed by a 6-week paid internship at a local company. The program focuses on two sectors, manufacturing and healthcare. This program is a part of the Calumet Green Manufacturing Program.

Who participates
Young adults, ages 18–24

Course work and credentials

Manufacturing: In the three-week boot camp, trainees earn a Forklift Driving certification and 10-hour OSHA General Industry certification and learn basic job readiness skills.

Healthcare: In the four-week boot camp, trainees earn their Nursing Assistant training and basic job readiness skills. Participants are then eligible to complete the Illinois state nursing assistant exam to become certified.

During the 6-week internship, participants receive ongoing support in the form of regular site visits, counseling, and mentoring.

Post-training services
Job placement assistance, post-training follow-up tracking, career coaching, support services, and mentoring.

Where
The boot camp is held at OAI, Chicago Southland Office, and other partnership locations. Internship sites include companies located within the Calumet region of metropolitan Chicago.

How to enroll
For more information or to enroll, contact Kreshina Ingram at (708) 283-5020

Funding partners
Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership

Chicago Southland Apprenticeship Program (CSAP)

As part of the DCEO Apprenticeship Expansion Program to serve the Chicago Southland, OAI was approved by US Department of Labor for two programs in manufacturing and healthcare. Qualified apprentices receive training programs that lead to entry-level industry credentials in manufacturing or healthcare. Apprentices are placed with employers and paid while learning with wrap-around services provided by OAI and partners for the duration of the apprenticeship program.


Who participates

Adults with High School Diploma or GED equivalent.

Course work and credentials

Healthcare: During the 12-month apprenticeship, participants attend the Bootcamp, 4-week CNA training at Excelsior Healthcare Academy that leads to state CNA certification, and get placed with a healthcare employer for the work-based learning and work for at least 30 hours per week as an employee.

Manufacturing: During the 12-month apprenticeship, participants attend the Bootcamp, over 200 hours of Electro-Mechanical training at Purdue Northwest that leads to PMMI Basic Electricity certification and PMMI Mechanical Components I certification, and get placed with a manufacturing employer for the work-based learning and work for at least 30 hours per week as an employee.

Participants also receive ongoing support in the form of regular site visits, counseling, and mentoring.

Additional Career services
Job placement assistance, post-training follow-up tracking, career coaching, support services, and mentoring.

Where

The boot camp is held at OAI Park Forest location or virtually.
The Certified Nursing Assistant training is held at Excelsior Healthcare.
The Electro-Mechanical Technician training is held at Purdue Northwest

How to enroll
For more information or to enroll, contact Xiaofan Liu at xiaofanliu@oaiinc.org or Don Brozek at dbrozek@oaiinc.org

Funding partners

Business and Career Services
National Able Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO)

JAC Recidivism Program - Train-Expunge-Counsel-Hire (TECH)

OAI created the Train-Expunge-Counsel-Hire (TECH) program to provide employment and related services to 200 formerly incarcerated individuals returning to the Cook County Southland communities.

 

Who participates

Returning citizens in South Cook County

Course work and credentials

In a 2- to 10-week program (depending upon services selected), trainees earn a Forklift Driving certification and 10-hour OSHA General Industry certification, and/or two ScPro Fundamentals certifications in Supply Chain Principal and Basic Warehousing, and learn basic job readiness skills. Participants receive ongoing support in the form of regular site visits, counseling, and mentoring.
All enrolled participants will receive the counseling services from EPIC Community Development Center.

Additional Career services
Job placement assistance, post-training follow-up tracking, career coaching, support services, counseling, and mentoring.

Where

The boot camp is held at OAI Park Forest location or virtually.
The forklift training is held at South Suburban College.
The ScPro training is held at Governors State University or virtually.

How to enroll
For more information or to enroll, contact Xiaofan Liu at xiaofanliu@oaiinc.org or Don Brozek at dbrozek@oaiinc.org

Funding partners

Cook County Justice Advisory Council

JAC Adult Program

This program serves adults on the fast track to steady employment with a job readiness boot camp followed by a 4 to 8-week training and get placed at a local manufacturing or TDL company.

 

Who participates

Adult residents of South Cook County

Course work and credentials

In a 2- to 10-week program (depending upon services selected), trainees in TDL track will earn a Forklift Driving certification and 10-hour OSHA General Industry certification, and/or two ScPro Fundamentals certifications in Supply Chain Principal and Basic Warehousing, and learn basic job readiness skills.

Participants in healthcare track will earn a state registered CNA certification via 4-week training at Excelsior. Participants receive ongoing support in the form of regular site visits, counseling, and mentoring.

Post Training services
Job placement assistance, post-training follow-up tracking, career coaching, support services, counseling, and mentoring

Where

The boot camp is held at OAI Park Forest location or virtually.
The Certified Nursing Assistant training is held at Excelsior Healthcare.
The forklift training is held at South Suburban College.
The ScPro training is held at Governors State University or virtually.

How to enroll
For more information or to enroll, contact Xiaofan Liu at xiaofanliu@oaiinc.org or Don Brozek at dbrozek@oaiinc.org

Funding partners

Cook County Justice Advisory Council

InternMatch Illinois

This free web platform connects Illinois job seekers to employers who offer internship opportunities. The app’s matching engine improves hiring outcomes by using employers’ preferences and job seekers’ own preferences to rank individual matches, and reports those ranks to each party. They can then complete the whole interview/onboarding process from within InternMatch. In addition, both employers and candidates get access to a wider pool of opportunities.

Current candidates include high school seniors, college students from Governors State University and community colleges.

Who participates

Any job seekers and any employers in Illinois

How to enroll

To register, please go to https://www.internmatchillinois.com/

Please view this video guide at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asLAFBb2ZUg

For more information, contact Xiaofan Liu at xiaofanliu@oaiinc.org or Don Brozek at dbrozek@oaiinc.org

Funding partners

Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO)

South Suburban Economic Growth Initiative

For workers

Since 1995, OAI’s Hazardous Waste Worker Training program has provided industry-accredited training in safe work practices and hazard prevention to workers whose duties put them at risk from environmental, chemical, or physical danger.

Three features, in particular, distinguish our program.

Our “company is the curriculum” approach guarantees that OAI courses meet each company’s specific needs. Training is customized to address specific workplace hazards and employer-identified skills gaps. Training materials incorporate company-specific documents; course content reflects company-specific culture and practice.

Our integrated or “nested” curriculum model goes beyond rote learning to include critical thinking, team skills, opportunities to apply skills and concepts in order to reinforce mastery and retention, and the integration of higher-level training elements such as quality processes, customer service, or business basics.

Our train-the-trainer model helps agencies, companies, and organizations develop sustainable, in-house safety training capacity. Peer-group trainers—familiar with the people they are training and with the specific potential hazards a given workplace presents—are extremely effective in helping promote safe work practices while reducing injuries.

In addition to trainings offered in partnership with other organizations, a few of the environmental health and safety courses offered at our Chicago headquarters are open to anyone. Open enrollment courses are conducted by experienced safety professionals and competitively priced.

If you’re looking to build job skills in your community or have a business that needs a more skilled workforce, contact Rich Addari at (312) 528-3500

Hazardous Waste Worker Training

Who participates

  • Emergency first responders, including rural and volunteer firefighters, police, hospital first receivers, and EMTs.
  • Non-union workers, including manufacturing, construction, janitorial, and environmental clean-up workers and nail salon technicians.
  • Transitional and temporary workers, including immigrant day laborers, homeless or formerly incarcerated individuals entering the workforce, and high-school dropouts working on construction projects.

Course work and credentials
Trainings are compliant with OSHA and EPA standards and can be customized to address specific workplace hazards. Popular courses include

  • General Safety Awareness – 4 hr. and 8 hr.
  • Permit-required Confined Space and Lockout/Tagout – 4 hr. and 8 hr.
  • Hazard Communication (2012) – 4 hr. and 8 hr.
  • OSHA for Construction and General Industry – 10 hr. and 30 hr.
  • HAZMAT Technician, Operations and Awareness Levels & Refresher – 8 hr., 24 hr. and 40 hr.
  • General Site Worker HAZWOPER & Refresher –8 hr. and 40 hr.
  • Clandestine Laboratories with Illicit Drugs, Awareness & Technician – 8 hr. and 40 hr.
  • EPA Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting – 8 hr.

Download the brochure.

Post-training services
In addition to initial training, we offer required refresher trainings as required by OSHA regulations

Where
Trainings are offered through partnerships in over 20 states. Key partnerships are in Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Louisiana, the Gulf South, and Virginia.

  • Emergency First Responders
    • State of Kentucky Fire and Police
    • State of Minnesota Fire
    • Sponsorship of refresher training for responders at the Midwest HAZMAT (IL) and Cold Zone (MN) conferences.
  • Non-union workers
    • Mendez Environmental (LA),
    • Boat People SOS (Gulf South and VA)
    • Building Material Reuse Association (IL)
  • Transitional and Temporary Workers
    • YouthBuild USA (Nationwide)
    • Raise the Floor Worker Centers (IL)
    • Cara Program’s Cleanslate (IL)
    • ReBuilding Exchange (IL)
    • Black United Fund of Illinois (IL)

To learn more
For more information, contact Alexander Prentzas (312) 528-3500

Funding partner
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences