The Chicago Transit Authority plans to hire 400 drivers to handle the extra work related to the track work on the CTA's Red Line trains.
CTA job fairs usually draw hundreds of applicants and Monday's event was no exception. The possibility of work brought hundreds of hopeful job seekers to Chicago State University early.
"If you really want something you should really be there when the time arises. You should be the first," Johnathon Puckett said. He arrived a midnight. "I've been to career fairs before where I had to stand and wait for hours. I just didn't want that to happen. I didn't expect to be the first person. I just wanted to be in the top 20, 25."
CSU hosted the first of three job fairs for the Chicago Transit Authority.
"I've been searching since January so I hope I'm one of the candidates that get picked," Michelle Towns said.
"A lot of the big companies their people they aren't going anywhere cause they know what the current situation is," Miguel Reyes said.
April Holman has a catering business, but it's not enough.
"It's hard out here. A lot of people are struggling. We're doing what we can to make ends meet. We have families to take care of we have to do, what's necessary," Holman said.
The agency is gearing up to help shuttle commuters around to upcoming Red Line Reconstruction Project.
"We're looking to hire 400 part time bus operators. Those are permanent positions that ultimately could become fulltime positions," Brian Steele, CTA spokesman, said.
Bus operators need to have a commercial driver's license (CDL). The job fair offers information for those still seeking that license, which is in demand for other open positions.
"CTA is a great opportunity but there are other companies in Chicago that want individuals with CDL. That's what we are here to do," Corey Person, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, said.
Some of the applicants who already have their CDL moved to the next phase, including Christopher Awong. He's got an appointment for a driving test.
"Excellent... Hey, I'm in the game. One foot in the door," Awong said.
The Red Line Reconstruction Project and the added shuttle bus service aren't expected to begin until may but CTA plans to start hiring in September.