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Thursday, March 07, 2013    

CTA to expand apprenticeship program for ex-offenders

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will expand its ex-offender apprentice program, quadrupling the current number of apprentice opportunities on its rail and bus systems to as many as 265, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA President Forrest Claypool jointly announced yesterday.

The CTA Apprenticeship Program is designed to provide job skills and training to ex-offenders to increase self-sufficiency for hard-to-employ individuals, while providing CTA with additional resources to enhance the customer experience with cleaner trains and buses, they said in a prepared statement.

Under the expanded program, CTA will provide rail and bus apprenticeship assignments up to nine months and one year in length, respectively.

Apprentices who perform exceptional work during their assignments will be eligible to apply for full-time CTA positions. If no full-time relevant positions are available, they may apply to participate in the CTA's other apprentice program for up to a combined 21 months of continued employment. Apprentices will be members of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents rail and bus workers.

The ex-offender apprentice program is considered one of the largest transitional programs in the country, providing as much as a year of work experience to people who face "significant hurdles" in seeking employment, Claypool said.

"This life-changing program gives ex-offenders a second chance at building successful lives, while also bringing value to our customers with cleaner, more comfortable commutes," he said.

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