Mayor Emanuel, CTA and City Colleges Announce Partnership to Expand CTA’s Second Chance Program

January 5, 2016

Program Offers Education, Training, Career Opportunities to Ex-Offenders and Others Who Face Barriers to Employment

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CTA Board Chairman Terry Peterson, CTA President Dorval Carter and City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman today announced a new partnership between CTA and City Colleges of Chicago to expand the CTA’s successful Second Chance Program, an innovative initiative that provides valuable job skills and career opportunities to Chicago residents who often face challenges re-entering the workforce.  Joining today’s announcement were U.S. Congressmen Bobby Rush and Danny Davis.

Through the partnership, City Colleges will provide new skills development and career training for Second Chance Program participants, which include nonviolent ex-offenders, victims of abuse and others who face barriers to employment.

“The CTA’s Second Chance program has provided hundreds of Chicagoans with the opportunity to learn new skills that enable them to land good-paying jobs and earn a second chance at success,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Through this new partnership, we will continue to provide residents who are willing to work hard with the chance at a middle-class job and the success that comes with it, which in turn, will have lasting impacts on the lives of their families, communities, and the economic health and well-being of our City.”

Under Mayor Emanuel, the Second Chance program has quadrupled in size, becoming one of the largest programs of its kind in the country. The program has grown to 265 positions for bus and rail car servicers who clean and detail the CTA’s more than 1,200 rail cars and nearly 1,800 buses, as well as rail station platforms and bus and rail yards. 

Earlier this year, the CTA received a $750,000 federal grant to help expand diesel mechanic training as part of the Second Chance program—providing participants with a career skill that will see significant demand here in Chicago and across the country over the next decade.

“The transportation, distribution and logistics sector is expected to generate 110,000 job openings in our region over the next decade alone, and City Colleges is committed to ensuring Chicagoans are prepared with the skills to succeed in this and other fast-growing fields,” said City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman. 

The training for the Second Chance program participants will be provided by the Workforce Academy, a division of City Colleges providing fee for service customized, non-credit bearing, on-the-job training for Chicago area employers and their employees.

City Colleges is working with CTA to finalize the training based on the needs of CTA and the Second Chance Program. Training will be customized and contextualized for CTA and its areas of focus, and will include customer service for the transportation industry, core skills such as mathematics and problem solving, as well as technical skills in equipment safety.  City Colleges also offers free GED high school equivalency courses, of which program participants can take advantage.

“Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Transit Authority are to be commended for expansion of the CTA’s Second Chance Program for non-violent ex-offenders,” Congressman Davis said. “265 full-time, skilled jobs with the Chicago Transit Authority is a serious commitment to re-entry.”

“Under Mayor Emanuel, Second Chance has quadrupled in size, effectively becoming one of the largest programs geared toward helping ex-offenders re-enter the workforce in the nation,” said Congressman Rush.  “I am pleased that City Colleges of Chicago will partner with the CTA to provide new skills development and career training for the 265 participants in CTA’s Second Chance Program.”

Since May 2011, more than 600 men and women have participated in the CTA program. One-hundred-fifty have been hired by CTA, and dozens more have moved on to other jobs, thanks to the experience they received in the Second Chance program.  Of the 150 hired by CTA, five have moved up to manager-level positions.

“The opportunities created by CTA’s Second Chance program can help make positive changes in the lives of those who truly need a helping hand,” said Carter. “It is a win-win for CTA and for candidates who commit to being successful: the participants in this program receive valuable training that can help keep them working at CTA or elsewhere, and CTA and our customers benefit from a well-trained, committed workforce.”

More information about the Second Chance Program is available on the CTA website: http://www.transitchicago.com/business/apprenticeshipprog.aspx.

More information about City Colleges’ Workforce Academy’s customized, non-credit, on-the-job training, is available at: www.ccc.edu/workforceacademy.

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