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 2,250 Chicagoans have participated—gaining experience they might not have received elsewhere. More than 550 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

There are two ways to apply to be a participant in the CTA Second Chance program:

  1. CTA Recruitment Event: All job seekers who complete a Second Chance Program interest survey and meet eligibility requirements will be invited to attend a direct recruitment event. Begin the interest survey.
  2. CTA Social Service Agency Partners: 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 applicants for the Second Chance Program. 

African American Christian Foundation
6707 North Ave
Oak Park, IL 60302

Breakthrough Urban Ministries
402 N. St. Louis
Chicago, IL 60624

Cara Chicago
237 S. Desplaines
Chicago, IL 60661

Central States SER
3948 W 26th St Suite 213
Chicago, Illinois 60623

Chicago Urban League
4510 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60653

Community Assistance Programs (CAPs)
11717 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60628

Goodwill Industries of Metropolitan Chicago
6054 S. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60636

Family Enrichment Center - Haymarket Center
McDermott Center
124 North Sangamon St.
Chicago, IL 60607

Growing Home Inc.
5814 S Wood
Chicago, IL 60636

Howard Area Community Center
Employment and Resource Center

7637 N. Paulina
Chicago, IL 60626

Inner Voice
212 W. Van Buren St., 3rd flr.
Chicago, IL 60607

Living Word Christian Center (Prison Ministry R.I.S.E. Program)
6266 W. North Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60130

Metropolitan Family Services
Calumet Center
235 E. 103rd St.
Chicago, IL 60628

North Lawndale Employment Network
U-Turn Permitted Job Readiness Training

3726 W. Flournoy
Chicago, IL 60624

Phalanx Family Services
837 W. 119th St.
Chicago, IL 60643

A Safe Haven Foundation
2750 West Roosevelt Rd.
Chicago, IL 60608

Safer Foundation
571 W. Jackson
Chicago, IL 60661

Salvation Army
825 N. Christiana Ave.
Chicago, IL 60651

St. Leonard's Ministries
The Michael Barlow Center of St. Leonard's Ministries
2120 W. Warren Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60612

St. Sabina Employment Resource Center
(an outreach arm of St. Sabina Church)
1210 W. 78th Pl.
Chicago, IL 60620

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

Westside Health Authority
Community Re-Entry & Employment Center
5417 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60651
773-786-0226 x2100

Frequently asked questions

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • 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 (If referred by one of our social agency partners).
  • Second Chance Program applicants are required to be released from the following:
    • Drug/alcohol treatment program
    • Work release center

How many Second Chance Program positions are available?

Up to 315 Second Chance Program participants may be employed by CTA at one time. Start and end dates per Second Chance Program 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 $15.80 per hour and may work up to 40 hours per week. Pay checks are issued on a bi-weekly pay period. Also, participants receive the benefit of free transportation on CTA's buses and trains, Pace suburban buses as well as Metra -- for the duration of their employment. 

Once I am invited to apply to the program, what happens?

  • Applicants will attend info session.
  • Applicants complete an application.
  • Applicants have an interview.
  • Applicants are fingerprinted for background processing.
  • Applicants complete a medical review.

‚ÄčOnce I am selected to participate in the program, what are the next steps?

  • Orientation
    • Applicants attend a new employee orientation thoroughly outlining program guidelines, eligibility requirements, job functions, placements, and Union participation.
  • 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 agency (if referred by an 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.
  • Those who successfully complete the program 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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