In recognition of the Memorial Day holiday, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announced it doubled the number of U.S. military veterans on staff since 2010, from 173 in 2010 to 348 in 2014.
The increases are the result of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA President Forrest Claypool’s focused efforts to promote and expand the hiring of veterans.
Over the past several years, veterans have increasingly joined the CTA in a wide variety of positions, from bus operators and flagmen to mechanics and customer service assistants. More than 20 now serve in manager or coordinator positions.
“For their bravery, discipline, and sacrifice, veterans not only deserve but are highly qualified for jobs when they come home,” Mayor Emanuel said. “CTA will continue to actively seek and employ the men and women who so courageously served our country.”
Efforts to further increase hiring of veterans began in May 2012, when Claypool signed the CTA’s first-ever executive order creating a veterans hiring preference. The order set a CTA goal to attract at least a 20% pool of veterans during the application process for positions, including drivers, mechanics, engineers, managers and other workers.
Over the 18 months, CTA has also done direct outreach to veterans at a dozen career fairs, including Hiring Our Heroes and other veterans’ hiring events.
“The CTA recognizes and values the experience of our country’s veterans, and we believe that experience translates very well to employment with the CTA,” Claypool said. “Many veterans, by virtue of their military service, are well-equipped to serve this agency and its customers.”
Prior to any vacancy being posted, CTA reviews and adjusts job descriptions, where applicable, to account for “equivalent experience” to reflect military experience. For example, a posting for bus mechanics would take into account a veteran’s experience servicing military vehicles or equipment.
Also, during the interview rating process, a veteran’s experience is factored into the candidate’s overall score. “These steps ensure that veterans continue to receive the consideration they deserve when they are seeking employment with CTA,” Claypool said.