Does the CTA Hire Felons?
The CTA is a Chicago staple that nearly everyone has traveled on if they have been to the windy city. Offering public transit from the Chicago loop, to Wrigleyville, and everywhere in between, the CTA has many employment opportunities for those that are willing to work hard. But, does the CTA hire felons? This post will answer that questions and help you understand what you need to know about the CTA.
Major Points that are Covered:
- The CTA Second Chance Program Overview
- What it’s Like to Work in the CTA Second Chance Program
- Consideration for the CTA Second Chance Program
The CTA Second Chance Program Overview
The Chicago Transit Authority (better known as the CTA) offers a Second Chance Program to individuals who are hard-to-place or who have been incarcerated. The program is offered in association with Chicago social services agencies and the City of Chicago. The program, which is closely aligned with the Department of Family and Support services, makes it possible for felons and other hard-to-place job seekers to obtain training and full employment in the transportation sector in the city.
Job Readiness Training through the CTA
If you would like to take part in the CTA Second Chance program, you need to establish your residence in Chicago and be at least 18 years of age. Applicants who meet these criteria participate in approximately 10 weeks of Job Readiness Training, obtaining a certificate from one of the city’s 13 referral agencies.
Obtaining Work in the Mainstream – Types of Second Chance Applicants
The Second Chance participants that apply for the training must be released from house arrest (wearing a bracelet or metal band); a drug or alcohol program or a work release center. As of this date (October 2015), the program says it is able to provide as many as 265 Second Chance jobsfor a calendar year. The start and end dates per each participant are done on a rolling basis.
What it’s Like to Work in the CTA Second Chance Program
How and What Participants are Paid
The Second Chance program training generally lasts, on average, 12 months (1 year) or a little longer. Participants in the program are paid $10.00 per hour and can work as many as 40 hours per week. Pay checks are issued bi-weekly.
How Each Apprentice Position is Filled
As each apprentice position comes available, the Chicago Transit Authority will contact the referring agency. Each referring agency suggests applicants who have already been screened and who have successfully completed the job readiness training prerequisite.
Preparing to Work as an Apprentice
Once an applicant is recommended, he is fingerprinted for background processing and undergoes a medical exam. At the completion of the background check and medical exam, an applicant attends a new employee orientation that thoroughly outlines the program guidlelines, requirements for eligibility, tasks associated with an apprentice job, placements, and Union participation. Completion of all hiring documentation is performed at this time as well.
Completion of Safety Training
In order to report to work, participants must first complete a safety training that is completely paid. This safety training is essential to make sure that participants understand what the CTA’s expectations are of you as an employee as it pertains to safety.
Thirty Day Reviews and Agency Contacts
Thirty day reviews are performed during the duration of the program by an apprentice employee’s immediate supervisor. Both supervisors and apprentice employees are required to look over the evaluation scoring – providing feedback and addressingspecific concerns. The Chicago agencies involved in the program regularly supply case management on each participant and continue to maintain contact periodically during the course of the apprenticeship.
After an Apprenticeship
Once you complete an apprenticeship in CTA’s Second Chance Program, you will receive a certificate and letter of reference from the Chicago Transit Authority. If you are not arrested or convicted of any further crimes, you usually are encouraged to apply for a CTA vacancy, such as transit car operator or a bus driver with the company.
Consideration for the CTA Second Chance Program
Obtaining Further Information
If you have any questions about the CTA Second Chance program, you can contact the CTA’s Second Chance Hotline by calling 312-681-2293. You can find out details about the referring agencies by referencing the Second Chance website at this link.
Applying for the CTA – Residing in the Windy City
Once you make contact with a referring agency, you can get a better idea about how you can proceed with the process. Establishing a residence in the area can be difficult if you do not know someone with whom you can reside or you are not originally from the area. If you are formerly from Chicago however, the CTA is a good place in which to apply and regain a footing back into the mainstream.
Chicago felons might also consider having their records sealed, which is a process that takes about 2 years. Going through the steps can alleviate some of the stress that is involved with post-conviction employment. House Bill (HB) 3061 enables felons to seal their records by applying to the court where they were charged.
Sealing Your Records
Class 2 felony convictions for such crimes as motor vehicle theft, drug possession or delivery and burglary are included under the statute. Individuals who have been charged with such crimes as forgery or retail theft are also included under the statute.
The Time to Begin is Now
Work at cleaning up your record and make use of the available resources if you live in the Chicago area. The CTA is a good place to begin a career if your goal is to work and find long-term employment.
Have you worked at the CTA after serving time? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below.