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Mayor Lightfoot, CTA and CPS Announce “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund”

Mayor Lightfoot, CTA and CPS Announce “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund”

Mayor Lightfoot, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced that applications are now being accepted for the third year of the “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund”, an innovative program that provides a path for economically disadvantaged youth to pursue education and careers in construction and engineering. 

Created in partnership with the Walsh-Fluor Design-Build team — the contractor for CTA’s historic $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project — the scholarship program provides aid to students who plan to pursue four-year degrees in construction management, civil engineering, industrial engineering or systems engineering.

The scholarship program provides a path for economically disadvantaged students to pursue an education in fields that historically create barriers for low-income students. The unique program provides $5,500 per year for four years, mentoring support and guidance in career development opportunities.

“As city leaders, it is our duty to invest in our youth and create opportunities for every one of our residents, regardless of their zip code or socio-economic background,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This innovative scholarship program not only generates these opportunities, but will undoubtedly develop a new generation of civic-minded industry leaders.” 

“As part of all CTA projects, we are committed to creating opportunity and inclusion for Chicagoans across the city, including students interested in careers in transportation, construction and engineering,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We are pleased to again partner with Walsh-Fluor to extend opportunities to Chicago’s youth and provide them a path to a bright future.”

“We are excited to offer members of the Class of 2022 an opportunity to apply for this scholarship to learn more about engineering and construction,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “The ‘CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund,’ reflects a city-wide commitment to our rising innovators and leaders — and our future.” 

“These scholarship recipients are getting work experience as interns in the construction and engineering fields,” Walsh-Fluor Project Executive David Shier said. “This program opens doors to deserving students to help them launch successful careers.”

“The Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund has gone above and beyond to provide our Scholars with the financial supports, mentoring and internship opportunities that will lead to long-term success in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Jeffery Beckham, Jr., Chicago Scholars CEO. “This is the premier STEM scholarship for Chicago Public School students pursuing a four-year college degree, and Chicago Scholars is proud to partner with Walsh-Fluor and the CTA to deliver best-in-class opportunities for Chicago students.”

“The Elevating Futures Scholarship has really helped me by supporting me financially and enabling me to further pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration & management at Loyola University Chicago!” said Axel Hernandez, a current Elevating Futures Scholarship recipient.

To date, six students from across the city of Chicago, including the Back of the Yards, Bridgeport, Hegewisch, Humboldt Park, and Portage Park neighborhoods, have received scholarships from the “CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund,” which is administered by Chicago Scholars, a nonprofit dedicated to college access, and college-success leadership development for first-generation and low-income students in Chicago. Scholarships have been awarded to graduates of Lake View High School, Lane Tech College Prep, Gary Comer College Prep, EPIC Academy High School, and William Jones College Prep.

To learn more about some of these students, watch this video.

The first-of-its-kind CTA initiative provides scholarships, mentoring support, and career guidance for under-resourced college students. The scholarship program is administered by Chicago Scholars, a nonprofit dedicated to college access, college success, and leadership development for first-generation and low-income students in Chicago.

Donated by Walsh-Fluor to help offset tuition costs for CPS graduates, the $250,000 ‘CTA Elevating Futures Scholarship Fund’ will provide 10 financial aid scholarships from 2020 through 2023 for students who plan on majoring in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) for engineering and construction-related degrees. Students who are awarded scholarships will also be eligible to apply for paid summer internships with Walsh-Fluor and the CTA. 

For more information about this program, visit CTA’s website at transitchicago.com/rpm/workforce-opportunities or Chicago Scholars’ website at chicagoscholars.org/elevatingfutures.