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Chicago Urban League Statement on the Ending of CTA Hiring Program for Former Offenders

For Immediate Release
Media Contacts
Roderick K. Hawkins
773-451-3536 (desk)
773-892-5427 (cell)
rhawkins@thechicagourbanleague.org
Lauren Love
773-451-3524 (desk)
773-896-5723 (cell)
llove@thechicagourbanleague.org

 

 

 

Chicago Urban League Statement on the Ending of CTA Hiring Program for Former Offenders

 

CHICAGO, IL (December 3,2013) “We are extremely disappointed to learn that, because of opposition from the Amalgamated Transit Union, the Chicago Transit Authority will soon end its successful apprenticeship program that gives former offenders work experience.  The program, which has run since 2007, has provided a critically needed pathway to financial security and positive community re-enforcement for numerous individuals.

 

“Union Local 308 President Robert Kelly has provided no reasoning for his insistence on ending the program and the Chicago Urban League believes it is a true tragedy that in the midst of the holiday season, a program that has a life-changing impact on former offenders will end, sending 65 people immediately to unemployment.

“Each day the Chicago Urban League opens our doors to men and women who have had direct contact with the criminal justice system. These are people who have committed a crime, paid their debt to society and are now ready to make an honest living. Yet many of them find that most doors of opportunity are slammed shut in their faces.

“This results in diminished hope and puts them at greater risk of becoming a repeat offenders and returning to prison. To reduce the likelihood of recidivism we provide and support programs that give former offenders the opportunities they need to turn their lives around, and to provide for themselves and their families.

“We believe that the CTA apprenticeship program for former offenders is a very important job opportunity vehicle and recognize that this program has been an economic and employment success for the participants and the CTA. We urge President Kelly and the Amalgamated Transit Union to sit down with the CTA and negotiate an arrangement to keep this pathway to opportunity open and operating.”

Andrea L. Zopp
President and CEO
Chicago Urban League