Workforce plan for major station renovation has exceeded goals, creating jobs that directly benefit those in Washington Park and surrounding communities
CTA’s efforts to promote workforce development and community opportunity have led to notable success on the Garfield Green Gateway project in Washington Park.
The $43 million project is completely rehabbing the main stationhouse and the entrance to the station, as well as rehabbing the historic stationhouse. The project will also include streetscape improvements and distinctive public art.
As it does with all projects, CTA worked with its project contractor Walsh Construction to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce on the Garfield project. Thanks to those efforts, CTA is exceeding the goals for the project:
- Minority hiring participation: goal of 19.6 percent; attained 63 percent
- Neighborhood hiring: goal of 7.5 percent; attained: 19 percent
- Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA):
- Federal program to provide training and employment services to unemployed and under-employed workers.
- Set a goal of 10 percent; attained 18 percent
- Union apprentices: 13 percent from six construction trades
- City of Chicago residents: 51 percent, including two from the Washington Park community
Walsh Construction worked closely with CTA to develop plans for outreach to and training of workers to help facilitate meaningful work on this project and beyond. To help ensure a diverse project workforce, Walsh and CTA’s Diversity Programs Department targeted local businesses, trade associations and workforce development agencies, like the Chicago Urban League (CUL) and the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, to help generate awareness and maximize participation from those interested in pursuing a career in construction trades. Qualified candidates then received pre-training and support through the CUL’s Community Trades Apprentice Program, which was created in partnership with the CTA
To date, Walsh and its subcontractors have hired 23 local trade apprentices as project laborers, carpenters, ironworkers, electricians, elevator mechanics and plumbers for the Garfield Gateway project – all of whom live in Cook and Will counties. Additionally, Walsh has also hired 10 full-time Chicago-based workers, two of which are from the Washington Park neighborhood and working on the Garfield Gateway project after successfully working on previous CTA projects such as the Red Line South Reconstruction project and the Wilson Station Reconstruction project in the Uptown community.
With the CTA making unprecedented investment in modernization, CTA Board Chairman Terry Peterson and CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. have closely focused on promoting opportunities for employment and contracting. “CTA works very hard to ensure that projects like Garfield Green Gateway benefit not only CTA customers, but also the communities our rail stations serve,” Carter said. “We are firmly committed to hiring and training a diverse and inclusive workforce.”
The Garfield Green Gateway is a transformational project to improve the transit experience for Chicagoans and create a strong community focal point for the historic Washington Park community. The project includes extending the platform canopies to provide more shelter; upgrading platform accessibility, improving elevators and escalators; and installing public art and landscaping to make the daily customer experience more pleasant.
The project will also rehabilitate the original Garfield station house built in 1892 on the south side of Garfield Boulevard, but is no longer in use by customers. The historic stationhouse, which earned City of Chicago landmark status in 2001, will be restored to its original turn-of-the century look, and will serve as a community space.
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