Hundreds turn out for CTA job fair

CHICAGO The CTA holds job fairs in order to maintain a pool of drivers at the ready. Friday, applicants had lots of company. With a highly completive job market, there was some hope and advice for those trying the find work.

The Chicago Urban League hosted a popular event Friday. Nearly 1,000 people showed up for the CTA's job fair.

"They have to be around, so I don't think they'll be doing too many layoffs. They need bus drivers. It will be something that will be a lifetime career," said Monet Roberts, CTA applicant.

This is one of the CTA's regularly scheduled job fairs but there is a shift in who's applying.

"A lot of the applicants that have come here today, they have college degrees instead of just high school diplomas. And that's actually excellent for us," said Gia L. Morris, CTA V.P. human resources.

Henry Clarke is retired but finding some extra income is needed.

"I need a little bit more money. I decided to come out of retirement to get a part-time job," said Henry Clarke, CTA applicant.

Roberto Garcia currently works for a shipping company, but rumors of layoffs and a tough economy brought him to look for another job.

"Because of the economy. A lot of people got laid off. Losing jobs. Yeah. it's pretty hard," said Roberto Garcia, CTA applicant.

While the CTA will have its choice of applicants, those who need more training to compete in a tight job market are offered assistance from the Urban League.

The Urban League president says the organization's new focus on economic and workforce development is right on time.

"Half the people that walked through our door today do not have the professional driver's license that you need. So we were taking applications for those who did. We were also signing people up into our training programs to help them get their permits," said Cheryle Jackson, Chicago Urban League.

For those looking, one of the nation's renowned outplacement researchers suggests trying to find use for your skills in industries that are hiring: healthcare, energy, agriculture, grocery and discount retailers.

"We see about 40 percent of people change industries for new job. You can take your skills and field and move them from an automotive supplier to a health care company if you stay within your area of expertise," said John Challenger, Challenger, Gray and Christmas.

The Chicago Urban League offers other job training assistance as well as help for entrepreneurs. For those with experience, some are taking this time to find opportunities in self employment.

By the way, the CTA hiring process is lengthy. Those applying Friday would not be on the payroll until February.

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