March 7, 2013

Chicago Transit extends ex-offender hiring program

 Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced the expansion of its largest ex-offender apprentice program — quadrupling the current number of apprentice opportunities on bus and rail to as many as 265.

The CTA Apprenticeship Program will provide valuable job skills and training to ex-offenders, increasing self-sufficiency for hard-to-employ individuals while providing CTA with additional resources to enhance the customer experience with cleaner buses and trains.

In coordination with community partners and sister city agencies, CTA will offer new, full-time bus apprenticeships in addition to its current rail apprentice opportunities for ex-offenders who face significant barriers to employment and to long-term self-sufficiency.

Under the expanded program, CTA will provide bus apprenticeship assignments that will be up to one year in length; rail apprentice assignments are nine months in length.

Apprentices who perform exceptionally during their assignments will be eligible to apply for full-time CTA positions. If no full-time relevant positions are immediately available, apprentices who have successfully completed one apprenticeship can apply to participate in the other apprentice program — for up to a combined 21 months of continued employment.

Positions in both apprenticeships pay $9.50 an hour. CTA will have 65 rail apprentice positions available and as many as 200 bus apprenticeship slots. Apprentices will be members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents bus (Local 241) and rail (Local 308) workers.

Pre-screened, qualified individuals who are selected for apprenticeships will be assigned to duties that will include platform servicing, bus and rail yard sweeping, railcar shop cleaning and general interior cleaning, and detailed exterior cleaning of buses and trains. Thorough background checks will be completed as part of the apprenticeship screening process. Job candidates that will be considered are individuals who have been convicted of non-sexual, non-violent and non-domestic violence-related criminal offenses.

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