PECO welcomed 12 new apprentice mechanics to the company's field force yesterday as they celebrated their graduation from a comprehensive natural gas training program. The new apprentices, along with 12 mechanics who graduated in April 2017, will join the utility's front lines - helping to ensure safe and reliable natural gas service for more than 516,000 area customers. "We are excited to bolster our workforce at PECO with our newest class of natural gas mechanics," said Ron Bradley, vice president of Gas Operations. "They will play an integral role in delivering safe and reliable natural gas to our customers and I'm proud to welcome them to the team." PECO's training program develops the fundamental skills new apprentice mechanics need to work safely on the company's natural gas distribution system. More than 530 people applied for this program. These apprentices were selected after a series of interviews and physical assessments. PECO's Training department develops the curriculum for the natural gas training program and seasoned natural gas mechanics instruct and oversee the field work of the trainees. In addition to field maintenance and repair skills, the program focuses on natural gas fundamentals, quality customer interactions, emergency response, safety and first aid. PECO's ongoing employee focus has been recognized by Forbes Magazine, which recently named PECO Best Mid-size Employer in Philadelphia. This tremendous honor is a direct reflection of PECO's commitment to drive innovation and create a diverse and inclusive culture - helping employees work more creatively to better serve the customers and communities it serves. PECO, founded in 1881, is Pennsylvania's largest electric and natural gas utility. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PECO delivers energy to more than 1.6 million electric customers and more than 516,000 natural gas customers in southeastern, Pennsylvania. The company's 2,500 employees are dedicated to the safe and reliable delivery of electricity and natural gas as well as enhanced energy management conservation, environmental stewardship and community assistance. PECO was named 2017 Best Mid-size Employer in Philadelphia by Forbes Magazine. The company also has an estimated annual economic impact of $4.3 billion in Pennsylvania, supporting more than 8,700 local jobs and producing $732 million in labor income. PECO is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation's only Fortune 100 utility and leading competitive energy provider. For more information visit PECO.com , and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter . If you are a member of the media and would like to receive PECO news releases via email, please send your email address to PECO.Communication@exeloncorp.com .