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 19 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. 

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

Cara Chicago
237 S. Desplaines
Chicago, IL 60661
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
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

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

New Moms
5317 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60651

North Lawndale Employment Network
U-Turn Permitted Job Readiness Training
3726 W. Flournoy
Chicago, IL 60624

OAI, Inc.
180 N. Wabash, Suite 750
Chicago, IL 60601

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
5816 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60651

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 4-6 weeks of Job Readiness Training and obtain a certificate of completion from one of the 19 referring agencies.
    • Be referred by one of the 19 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.

System status snapshot
‘L’ route status
Red Line
Normal Service
Brown Line
Normal Service
Green Line
Normal Service
Orange Line
Normal Service
Pink Line
Normal Service
Purple Line
Normal Service
Yellow Line
Normal Service
Bus routes w/alerts
Elevator alerts