Mayor Lightfoot, CTA and CPS Announce New Scholarship Program to Help Students Pursue Education and Careers in Construction

February 10, 2020

In partnership with Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) contractor Walsh-Fluor and nonprofit Chicago Scholars, CTA unveils college scholarship program for low-income Chicago youth

CHICAGO – Mayor Lightfoot, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced the new “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund”, an innovative program that will provide a new path for economically disadvantaged youth who want to go to college and pursue construction and engineering-related careers. Created in partnership with the Walsh-Fluor Design-Build team (WFDBT), the contractor for CTA’s historic $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project, the new scholarship program will provide $250,000 to aid CPS students who plan to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) four-year degrees at a university or college.

“As a City, we must always strive to identify new, equitable ways to support and provide resources to all of our students, ensuring they can pursue their passions, live up to their God-given potential,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This scholarship program will provide high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds with invaluable financial assistance and prepare them for 21st-century careers that will shape our city's future."Scholarship Logo

The new “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund” will provide college scholarships and mentoring supports, along with access to career development opportunities, to guide students in launching careers in the construction and engineering industries. The scholarship program will be administered by Chicago Scholars, a mentoring and leadership development organization that helps first-generation college students and students from under-resourced communities navigate transitions into college, through college, and on to careers.

“We are pleased to create a pathway for Chicago high school students to college and careers in the construction and engineering field,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We thank Walsh-Fluor and Chicago Scholars for making this scholarship program possible, and for partnering with us to removing barriers to education and careers for some of our youth and making this investment in the future engineering and construction management field in Chicago.”

Donated by Walsh-Fluor to help offset tuition costs for CPS graduates, the $250,000 as part of the CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund will provide 10 scholarships financial aid from 2020 through 2023 for students who plan on majoring in construction management, civil engineering, industrial or systems engineering Students who are awarded scholarships will also be eligible to apply for paid summer internships with Walsh-Fluor and the CTA. 

“Too many of our students are talented, hardworking, and dedicated to their education, but lack the financial ability to pursue their career ambitions in college and beyond,” said CPS CEO, Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “The ‘CTA Elevating Future Scholarship Fund,' will help ensure that students who want to pursue their career dreams don’t encounter a financial barrier when entering college. I want to thank the CTA and Walsh-Flour for recognizing the power of providing a helping hand to some of our city’s hardest working young adults and giving them the opportunity they need to succeed.”

Eligible students must be enrolled in a CPS or CPS-supported high school and currently part of the Chicago Scholars program. Chicago Scholars is a college-access, success, and leadership and career development program that recruits from all 77 community areas of the city and has student representation from 75 CPS and CPS-supported high schools. Eligible students must be enrolled in STEM coursework, have a GPA of at least 3.0, and a good attendance record.

“Chicago Scholars is proud to partner with the CTA and Walsh-Fluor and create important opportunities for CPS students through the ‘CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund’,” said Dominique Jordan Turner, Chicago Scholars CEO. “This fund will elevate opportunities for our financially under-resourced and first-generation Scholars beyond college access as they continue on the path to becoming young professionals and leaders within Chicago’s STEM industry.”

Awardees will also have other career development opportunities with the CTA’s RPM project and Walsh-Fluor that will enhance their education and understanding of the transit construction industry, such as educational site visits. The “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund” goes beyond providing education financing and provides a strong level of support for student scholars, including check-ins and mentoring for students in high school and throughout college.

Students can begin applying for scholarships now and applications will be due March 1, 2020. Scholarship recipients will be announced on April 15, 2020.

For more information about this program and eligible schools, visit ­CTA’s web site at transitchicago.com/rpm/workforce-opportunities or Chicago Scholars’ web site at chicagoscholars.org/elevatingfutures.


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