Program helps eliminate financial burden of acquiring a Commercial Driver’s License
To help Chicagoans take the first step toward a career in transportation, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has recently partnered with Olive-Harvey College to offer a free preparatory course to assist candidates in meeting the hiring requirement of obtaining a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). This new program is the latest in a series of measures introduced in support of the agency’s “Meeting the Moment: Transforming CTA’s Post-Pandemic Future” – a multi-pronged effort to provide more reliable service, improve the customer experience and invest in employees.
The two-week course, available to qualified CTA applicants, helps candidates acquire a CLP, which is needed to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Class "B". To remove financial barriers for students to pursue and complete the program, CTA covers the costs of tuition, training, books, fees and other expenses associated with the program along with the cost of taking the permit exam.
“One of the supporting pillars of the ’Meeting the Moment’ Action Plan focuses on delivering reliable and consistent service, which is not possible unless CTA can hire the workforce needed to operate scheduled service,” said CTA President Dorval Carter, Jr. “This program, which began in August, has already produced a dozen new hires currently in training, showing that thinking outside the box and finding ways to reduce barriers will be vital in speeding up the bus operator hiring process.”
The CDL program partnership with Olive-Harvey is one of many initiatives the CTA has undertaken to address workforce challenges brought on by the pandemic. Like other transportation entities, from airlines to trucking companies, the CTA faces the effects of the Great Resignation and challenges of recruiting in a competitive industry.
Other measures taken by the CTA to address these issues include recent changes to workforce rules allowing for the direct hire of full-time operators, increased wages and improved healthcare benefits, strong recruiting and marketing efforts, as well as hosting both virtual and in-person job fairs.
“Olive-Harvey College is committed to be of service to our students and city while also meeting the talent needs of employers. We are excited this partnership with CTA will help build a pipeline of amazing bus operators while positively impacting transportation services in our communities,” said Dr. Kimberly Hollingsworth, President, Olive-Harvey College.
“The CTA provides the opportunity to not just serve the City of Chicago as bus operator, but also start a career in transportation that provides good pay and benefits,” said Tom McKone, Chief Administrative Officer. “This partnership with Olive-Harvey helps eliminate what is often the biggest hurdle for many qualified candidates and allows them to take their first step towards establishing their future career.”
For more information about CTA employment opportunities, visit transitchicago.com/careers.
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