CTA holds hiring fair to kick off Second Chance Month

April 10, 2023
The month promotes the importance agencies, individuals and communities play in supporting the safe and successful reentry of people returning from incarceration.

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) held a hiring event April 8 to kick-off national “Second Chance” month. CTA’s Second Chance Program, which was established in 2011 and expanded in 2016, has served more than 1,700 residents in Chicago who are considered justice involved or who face barriers to employment. CTA has hired more than 500 permanent employees through the program, with additional participants securing employment at other organizations.

To qualify for the Second Chance Program, individuals must be a city of Chicago resident, 18 years or older, have a barrier to employment (justice involved, domestic violence survivor or have housing insecurities), must be and remain drug free (including marijuana), show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 per CDC standards and have an interest in janitorial work. CTA pays employees in the program $15.40/hour, guarantees 40 hours of work every week for one years and offers free transportation on Chicago region transit, including CTA, Metra and Pace. Additionally, the authority offers paid Commercial Learner’s Permit training, professional development opportunities and workshops to assist with applying for permanent CTA positions.

“The pandemic impacted every aspect of our lives, but one group that has been hit particularly hard are those who can benefit from initiatives like CTA’s Second Chance Program, which is seeking applicants looking for a fresh start,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Most importantly, if you become part of the Second Change Program, you’re not just getting a job, rather a holistic program that provides training, career path assistance, upskilling opportunities, mentoring, networking and other support and resources to aide in re-entering the workforce.”

Every April, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs recognizes Second Chance Month to promote the importance agencies, individuals and communities play in supporting the safe and successful reentry of people returning from incarceration.

The White House issued a proclamation on March 31 declaring April Second Chance month and included, “America has always been a land of second chances, founded on fresh starts, new possibilities and the belief that every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. During Second Chance Month, we recommit to helping people forge the new beginnings they have earned and building a safer and more just society.”

In addition to CTA, agencies including New Orleans Regional Transit Authority and IndyGo have adopted second chance initiatives.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.