I started my internship at CTA during my second year of law school at Loyola. I heard about the internship through a Loyola career services website. The position was in the Equal Employment Opportunity Unit and was advertised as seeking law students that had knowledge of employment law and public interest experience. At the time, I was all of those things: a law student, focusing my studies on employment law and pursuing my public interest certificate. Because the position and my skills seemed to be such a good fit, I accepted the internship when offered.
During my internship, I thought it was unique to gain an in-depth perspective of the CTA. Before working at the CTA I had never thought about all of the intricacies involved in operating a mass transit system. In my position I am constantly meeting different CTA employees and learning about different positions. After only a few weeks working at CTA I started to notice little details during my daily commutes that I never would have picked up without my new knowledge of the company.
I was an intern for a little over a year before I chose to apply and accept a full time position at CTA. I now work as an “EEO Investigator.” I investigate internal and external complaints of discrimination and harassment, create and develop trainings and various other tasks to ensure a better working environment at the CTA.
Heading in to my final semester of my senior year at Purdue University Calumet, studying Accounting and Management Information Systems, I began looking for an internship, considering that I had a light schedule and wanted to gain more experience in accounting before heading off into the world. I was hired as an intern in the Property Accounting department during the 2014 Fall and 2015 Winter-Spring terms; a time during which I gained tremendous experience and intangible knowledge that I could not have learned in any classroom. For example, one piece of such knowledge was learning how to properly compose emails and appropriately answer telephone calls in a professional environment.
Unlike many cliché internships, the CTA made me feel as though I was truly contributing with the work I was doing, even though I was ‘only’ an intern. During my internship, one of my many responsibilities was to provide assistance in the Grant and Property department with audits. Doing so helped me apply that knowledge in the classroom, as I was taking an Auditing course at the time, and class-specific topics would correlate seamlessly with my responsibilities at the CTA.
Later on in my internship, a position in the Property Accounting department became available and I chose to apply, as it was not a typical Accountant position. I felt confident applying as I was already an intern in that particular department, but above all else, it was an excellent work environment to start a career. Since early 2015, I am now an Accountant in Property Accounting, where my duties are asset-related, as well as field work where I take inventory – certainly one of the most interesting parts of my job.
I started as an intern at the CTA in February 2015 while I was finishing my Master’s degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. The CTA was especially appealing to me because it’s an organization that is inextricably tied to the City of Chicago. To me, that meant the work that I’d be doing would likely have a direct impact on many people. I initially learned about the internship position – Strategic Planning & Analytics – through an internal page associated with my school at the time. My advisor had previously established a relationship with the CTA, so when new positions were available, she was able to update the site and let all students looking for an internship know of the update.
My first internship lasted for about four months. At that time, I was working in the Bus Operations department at the 103rd Street Garage. My capstone project was a 90-day assessment of all of the bus deviations that took place out of that garage. It also included strategic recommendations aimed at both increasing the knowledge of where and when deviations occur as well as ideas as to how to reduce those deviations both in terms of length and quantity.
The former Vice President of Human Resources saw my project at the end-of-semester intern presentation fair and expressed interest in it. After briefly talking, he learned of my education background and previous experiences in Human Resources. From there, my second internship started in Human Resources as an Employee Engagement intern. I was tasked with creating an Exit Interview survey and process to capture information pertaining to why employees choose to leave the CTA as well basic information about various aspects of general employment. About two and a half weeks into that internship, I learned of a new position that would be opening within the Employee Engagement department. Essentially, the position was an extension of what I was doing within my internship role and allowed me to have a larger organizational impact and increase my responsibilities.
I interviewed and was offered the position, transitioning to full time after less than a month of interning in the Human Resources department. My current position – HR Assistant, Employee Engagement – is a fantastic fit for me. It allows me to use my educational background in something I’m very passionate about – making work life better for CTA employees. Because the department is new, I’ve also had a very large hand in creating the framework for how the department runs as well as the tasks and projects that are completed. The main aspects of my job include working on employee appreciation and recognition, community outreach initiatives, and all of our internal survey work and subsequent data analysis and reporting. My internship experiences really helped give me a background and foundation for understanding the internal practices at the CTA, especially in terms of how things run. I was also able to meet fantastic people, who I’ve reached out to and used as resources on more than one occasion. Ultimately, my internships set me up to start my career in an organization I feel I can make a difference at – something that continues to motivate and inspire me every day.
Procurement Match Analyst
I was an intern at the Chicago Transit Authority for more than a year. I must say, this company has been very good to me and I look forward to continuing my successful path within the CTA. I attended and graduated from Roosevelt University – located in the heart of downtown Chicago. What I found interesting is that I met other students who attended Roosevelt and they were interns with the CTA for years. I chose CTA to complete my internship because this company is well established and well respected throughout the Chicagoland area. Many people who I have met who worked or retired from CTA spoke very highly of this company. So when I found that the CTA actually had paid internships, I eagerly applied.
When I was selected for the 2014 Winter-Spring Term I was overjoyed. I became an intern in the Payroll/Finance department at CTA’s headquarters. The Payroll dept. is one of the nicest and welcoming departments I have ever worked in. In many ways, interning in Payroll was beneficial to my coursework. My payroll daily tasks and projects gave me a better understanding of my Tax Accounting and Auditing courses. I gained great experience and knowledge while interning in Payroll such as: excellent attention to detail, professionalism, customer service, ethics, and the overall corporate culture. One of my favorite experiences at CTA was meeting and connecting with other interns in the program. I found it fascinating to learn about the different things they were doing and also hearing their opinions about their department and the CTA. My other favorite experience while interning in Payroll was training fellow interns that came after me. I felt very accomplished that my managers trusted me with passing on information to others in assisting with the Payroll process.
In the summer of 2015, I learned that a position was opening in Accounts Payable that I believed I was qualified for and I immediately applied. I was thrilled that my hard work did not go unnoticed and I was offered the position of Procurement Match Analyst in Accounts Payable. I was aware that Payroll and Accounts Payable worked closely together so therefore I already was at home. I absolutely love my position and my department. We work very well together and they are extremely helpful. My position allows me to work with many different vendors and CTA employees in the field. I cannot express how grateful I am and I can’t wait to further my career within this company.
Signal Engineer 1
Power and Way
I started my internship with CTA in June 2013 in the Power and Way department located at the West Shops. I selected CTA for my internship because I was fascinated with the transit system; in particular, I wanted to know more about signal engineering. When I started my internship, I was in my junior year in my undergraduate studies in Electrical Engineering with a particular interest in signal. I became aware of the internship through the CTA internship website and from a previous intern at CTA. I was an intern for approximately 1 year and 4 months. I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.
In my internship, I had the privilege to work with the four different departments that maintain the rail infrastructure: structure, track, signal and power. For the Structure department I was able to help with several AutoCAD drawings. In the Track department, I managed overtime, inspected slow zones and inspected track. In the Power department, I participated in substation inspections. Lastly, in the Signal department I was responsible for Carbourne audits, worked on AutoCAD drawings, and collected and compiled the information on wayside signal equipment.
As part of the internship program, I was able to participate in interactive activities during the various workshops, which better prepared us for the professional field. As for example, the S.T.A.R interview workshop helped me prepare for my interview when I applied for the Signal Engineer 1 position.
I love working in the Power and Way department at CTA. I have learned a lot from working in the field with the engineers and foremen. What I like best about working at the West Shop in the Signal department is that I have a lot of exposure to the field which helps me to better understand how the wayside signal equipment works.
In my new position, I am currently coordinating the transition of the signal maintenance log book format into a digital format. I work with the signal construction gang verifying “as built” in order to plan and upgrade work. I have assisted in the coordination of the switch replacements at Tower 12 and 18. Carbourne audits, wayside audits, yellow emergencies and trouble call reports and inspection of relay house are some of examples of the new tasks I am responsible for in my new position.
I plan to keep growing in the signal field at CTA -- I am very eager to learn more about the field and take on new responsibilities. I am very proud to be part of the CTA family. Thank you CTA!
Project Specialist I
As an Urban Planning major in college, I was fascinated with public transportation and the types of service it provides for the community. The research I conducted on the Chicago Transit Authority piqued my interest in the day-to-day services it provided for the city of Chicago. During the summer internship program in 2014, I worked in the Transit Operations department, specifically working with bus operator morale within the CTA’s seven bus garages. Being able to be in the field talking to the front line employees of the CTA was a great experience for me. I was able to see how decisions were made on an executive level, implemented in the field locations, and ultimately how it affected the service our frontline employees delivered to the city.
The CTA internship program gave me valuable hands-on experience with our operators and I learned to love the operation. I was invited back for a second term in Winter 2015 and transitioned into a full-time employee in May 2015. So far, I’ve had a great experience at the CTA! I’ve been able to apply the skills my internship taught me when working on daily tasks. The internship program helped me to develop not only technically within the field of transportation, but also professionally as a junior professional. I continue and will always continue to learn every day at the CTA. The internship program enabled me to apply the skills I learned in school with real-world experiences that eventually led to a full-time position and the start of my career.