What is the CTA 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 nonviolent ex-offenders, victims of abuse and others who face barriers to employment, but also offers a wide range of training, education, mentoring and networking.

Since 2011, under Mayor Emanuel, the program has doubled in size to become one of the largest re-entry programs in the country. Over the last five years, more than 825 people have participated—gaining experience they might not have received elsewhere. More than 245 Second Chance participants have been hired permanently by CTA, with dozens of others moving on to private-sector jobs.

The program has helped helps hundreds of people turn their lives around, and provide for their families. 

How to apply

Jobseekers need to actively participate in one of the 14 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 the bus servicer and rail car servicer Second Chance positions. 

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
Haymarket Center Family Enrichment Center
McDermott Center
124 North Sangamon Street
Chicago, IL 60607
Howard Area Community Center,
Employment Resource Center
7637 N. Paulina
Chicago, IL 60626
Inner Voice
212 W. Van Buren St., 3rd flr. 
Chicago, IL 60607
North Lawndale Employment Network
U-Turn Permitted Job Readiness Training
3726 W. Flournoy
Chicago, IL 60624
Phalanx Family Services
837 W. 119th Street
Chicago, IL 60643
A Safe Haven Foundation
2750 West Roosevelt Road
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 Place
Chicago, IL 60620
Westside Health Authority
Community Re-Entry & Employment Center
5816 W. Division Street
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 14 referring agencies.
  • Second Chance participants that are referred are required to be released from the following:
    • House Arrest/Home Confinement (wearing metal band/bracelet and/or monitored movement)
    • Drug/alcohol program (i.e. Methadone treatment)
    • Work release center

How many Second Chance positions are available?

Up to 265 Second Chance participants may be employed by CTA in one calendar year. 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 serve for 12 months.

How much does the program pay?

Participants are paid at a rate of $10.50 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 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 all hiring documentation and application inserts
    • Training
      • Participants are required to complete a (paid) safety training prior to reporting to assigned work location.

Once in the program, what are the expectations?

  • Come to work everyday and on-time.
  • Adhere to all CTA standards and procedures.
  • Be available to work any shift assigned(CTA is a 24hr operation).

What happens when the participant successfully completes the program?

  • After 12 months, participants in good standing receive a certificate of completion and letter of reference from CTA.
  • Providing there are no additional arrests or convictions on the participant's record, the Second Chance program participant is 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 - 312-681-2293.


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