HIRE360, CTA modernization project connect new and out-of-work tradespeople with jobs

HIRE360 helps connect unemployed tradespeople from all over the city with work.

Originally published on abc7chicago.com

If you look around the city, you’ll see essential businesses everywhere. That includes construction projects that are underway.

One of the biggest is the Red and Purple Modernization project. It’s the largest investment in CTA history and is set to use more than $2 billion before it’s completed.

But to do the job, CTA is relying on labor from all over the city.

“My dad was in the trades, my grandfather was in the trades and my uncle was in the trades,” said laborer Lashundria Dewberry.

Dewberry, who lives in Bronzeville, is a UIC grad and the first woman in her family to enter the trades.

“My uncle tells me all the time, cause my grandfather’s passed, he tells me your grandfather would be so proud of you,” she said.

She said her 12-year-old son Daniel is proud, too.

“I just tell him, ‘I do this for us,'” she said.

A few weeks ago, she and Kelvin Jackson were out of work.

“I was worrying about it the whole time, but what I do is live for the next day, and I don’t give up on anything,” he said.

But thanks to the nonprofit HIRE360, RailWorks, and the CTA modernization project, they have a career, through the trades.

“It’s just been a blessing to me,” Jackson said.

HIRE360 helps connect unemployed tradespeople from all over the city, including the South and West Sides, with work.

“(We have) one goal, which is to get people from the community interested in the construction industry,” said HIRE360 Executive Director Jay Rowell.

It even helps connect people with no experience to job training and opportunities, and it’s free of charge.

“We pay for people’s test fees, or a ride to the test, also we buy them their first set of tools and boots so they can be successful,” Rowell said.

Jackson and Dewberry take pride in their work to move the people of this city.

“I’m able to say, ‘Hey, I worked on that project. I did this.’ I’m able to tell my son, ‘Look, mommy was on there,'” Dewberry said.

They said if you’re out of work, you can be part of it too.

“Trades is where it’s at,” Jackson said.

RailWorks is hiring dozens of positions right now and HIRE360 can help shepherd you through the process of getting involved in the trades.

Here are resources to start:

HIRE360: https://hire360chicago.com

RAILWORKS: https://www.railworks.com/careers

WALSH FLUOR: https://walsh-fluorrpm.com/career-opportunities