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Second Chance Program

CTA’s Second Chance program is a nationally recognized program that provides valuable job skills and career opportunities to Chicago residents who often face challenges re-entering the workforce.

The Second Chance program takes a holistic approach to preparing individuals to be self-sufficient. It not only provides jobs to returning citizens, victims of abuse and others who face barriers to employment, but also offers a wide range of training, education, mentoring and networking opportunities.

Since 2011 the program has doubled in size to become one of the largest re-entry programs in the country. So far, more than 1000 Chicagoans have participated—gaining experience they might not have received elsewhere. More than 300 Second Chance participants have been hired permanently by CTA, with many others moving on to private-sector jobs.

The program has helped hundreds of people turn their lives around, and provide for their families.

How to apply

Job seekers need to actively participate in one of the designated agencies' work readiness programs. The CTA Second Chance program is in regular communication with the agencies listed below. The agencies' top participants are referred to CTA for consideration as candidates for the Second Chance Program. 

African American Christian Foundation
6707 North Ave
Oak Park, IL 60302
708-848-1700
www.aacfworks.org 

Breakthrough Urban Ministries
402 N. St. Louis
Chicago, IL 60624
773-346-1785
www.breakthrough.org

Cara Chicago
237 S. Desplaines
Chicago, IL 60661
312-798-3300
www.carachicago.org

Center for Changing Lives
1955 N St Louis Suite 101
Chicago, IL 60647
773-342-6210
https://cclconnect.org/ 

Central States SER
3948 W 26th St Suite 213
Chicago, Illinois 60623
773-387-3900
www.centralstatesser.org 

The Chicago Lighthouse
1850 West Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60608
312-447-3251
www.chicagolighthouse.org

Chicago Urban League
4510 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60653
773-616-3142
www.chiul.org 

Community Assistance Programs (CAPs)
11717 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60628
773-568-1782
www.capsinc.org

Goodwill Industries of Metropolitan Chicago
6054 S. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60636
773-627-5752
www.goodwillchicago.com

Family Enrichment Center - Haymarket Center
McDermott Center
124 North Sangamon St.
Chicago, IL 60607
312-226-7984
www.hcenter.org

Growing Home Inc.
5814 S Wood
Chicago, IL 60636
773-434-7144
www.growinghomeinc.org

Howard Area Community Center
Employment and Resource Center

7637 N. Paulina
Chicago, IL 60626
773-262-3515
www.howardarea.org

Inner Voice
212 W. Van Buren St., 3rd flr.
Chicago, IL 60607
312-994-5839
www.innervoicechicago.org

Inspiration Corporation
4554 N Broadway Ste 207
Chicago, Illinois 60640
312-626-5813
www.inspirationcorp.org

Instituto del Progreso Latino
2520 South Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60608
773-890-0055
www.institutochicago.org

JCFS Chicago
909 W Wilson Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
773-467-3848
https://www.jcfs.org/jvs/about

Living Word Christian Center (Prison Ministry R.I.S.E. Program)
6266 W. North Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60130
773-622-5701
www.risereentry.org 

Metropolitan Family Services
Calumet Center
235 E. 103rd St.
Chicago, IL 60628
773-371-3600
www.metrofamily.org

New Moms
5317 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60651
www.newmoms.org

North Lawndale Employment Network
U-Turn Permitted Job Readiness Training

3726 W. Flournoy
Chicago, IL 60624
773-638-1825
www.nlen.org

OAI, Inc.
180 N. Wabash, Suite 750
Chicago, IL 60601
312-528-3504
www.oaiinc.org

Phalanx Family Services
837 W. 119th St.
Chicago, IL 60643
773-291-1086
www.phalanxgrpservices.org

A Safe Haven Foundation
2750 West Roosevelt Rd.
Chicago, IL 60608
773-435-8300
www.asafehaven.org

Safer Foundation
571 W. Jackson
Chicago, IL 60661
312-922-2200
info@saferfoundation.org

Salvation Army
825 N. Christiana Ave.
Chicago, IL 60651
312-733-0500
www.centralusa.salvationarmy.org

St. Leonard's Ministries
The Michael Barlow Center of St. Leonard's Ministries
2120 W. Warren Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60612
312-226-6270
www.slministries.org

St. Sabina Employment Resource Center
(an outreach arm of St. Sabina Church)
1210 W. 78th Pl.
Chicago, IL 60620
773-783-3760
www.saintsabina.org

Universal Family Connection
1350 W. 103rd St.
Chicago, IL 60643
www.ufcinc.org

Westside Health Authority
Community Re-Entry & Employment Center
5816 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60651
773-786-0226 x2100
www.healthauthority.org

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility requirements and qualifications?

  • Job seekers interested in participating must:
    • Reside within the City of Chicago
    • Be 18 years or older
    • Participate in weeks of Job Readiness Training and obtain a certificate of completion from one of the referring agencies.
    • Be referred by one of the agencies
  • Second Chance applicants that are referred are required to be released from the following:
    • Drug/alcohol treatment program
    • Work release center

How many Second Chance positions are available?

Up to 315 Second Chance participants may be employed by CTA at one time. Start and end dates per Second Chance participant are on a rolling basis.

How long does the program last?

Based on job performance and attendance, a participant may participate for 12 months.

How much does the program pay?

Participants are paid at a rate of $13.50 per hour and may work up to 40 hours per week. Pay checks are issued on a bi-weekly pay period.

Once the referring agency recommends an applicant, what happens?

  • Applicants complete an application.
  • Applicants are fingerprinted for background processing.
  • Applicants complete a medical review.
  • If the applicant passes background and medical what are the next steps?
    • Orientation/pre-hire
      • Applicants attend a new employee orientation thoroughly outlining program guidelines, eligibility requirements, job functions, placements, and Union participation.
      • Completion of additional hiring documentation and application inserts.
    • Training
      • Participants are required to complete (paid) training prior to reporting to assigned work location.

Once in the program, what are the expectations?

  • Remain engaged with referring with agency.
  • Come to work everyday and on-time.
  • Adhere to all CTA rules, policies and procedures.
  • Be available to work any shift assigned at any location (CTA is a 24-hour operation).

What happens when the participant successfully completes the program?

  • After 12 months, participants in good standing will receive a certificate of completion and letter of reference from CTA.
  • Successful program completors will have gained advanced skills to compete for permanent positions.
  • Program graduates are encouraged to apply for CTA vacancies.

Who can you call if you have questions?

If you still have questions about this program, you can contact the CTA Second Chance Hotline - 1-312-681-2293.

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