Through the landmark CTA Building Small Businesses Program, CTA and Walsh-Fluor helped 10 small businesses working on the RPM project to secure $3.4 million in federal funds
The CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project and the Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team, RPM’s contractor, have helped disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) successfully apply for and receive $3.4 million in COVID-19-related federal aid.
The CTA with Walsh-Fluor and LISC Chicago created the “CTA Building Small Businesses” program in 2019 to provide financial and technical assistance to small businesses that are certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) or that are seeking to become DBE-certified to be eligible to work on CTA projects. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, CTA and Walsh-Fluor have expanded their support to help companies apply for federal CARES Act loans, which includes the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
“These small businesses are helping CTA build new Red Line stations and tracks, and in our view, it is just as important to invest in our communities as it is in our infrastructure,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “Given the strength of our CTA Building Small Businesses program with our partner Walsh-Fluor, it made perfect sense to go beyond our regular program assistance to help these businesses survive this unprecedented period.”
Paniagua Group, based in Arlington Heights, is one such beneficiary from participating in CTA’s Small Business Program and receiving guidance on successfully applying for federal COVID-19 funds. Paniagua, through working with Walsh-Fluor and CTA through its “CTA Building Small Businesses”, has successfully bid and worked on a CTA construction project because of its participation.
This spring, CTA and Walsh-Fluor held a virtual CTA Building Small Businesses session during which:
- Small businesses were provided information about how to swiftly assemble the necessary documents to successfully apply for federal funding.
- The program team created a guide outlining the capacity of both lending programs, who is eligible, and what financial information applicants should be prepared to submit.
- The team worked one-on-one with DBEs seeking loans.
- Thirteen (13) companies, including contractors and professional services, were successful in applying for loans that ranged in amounts from about $6,500 to $1.2 million.
The CTA Building Small Businesses Program was created to help small businesses bid on large projects like the $2.1 billion RPM project. The program is designed to help DBEs secure loans for working capital, equipment and other cash-flow needs. Launched in September 2019, the program has worked with dozens of small businesses to develop the capacity to bid on CTA projects like the RPM.
For more information on RPM, visit transitchicago.com/RPM.
For eligible freshmen, new aid program would help fully cover 2020-21 tuition, fees
Illinois high school students who graduate this coming spring with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or above might now be able to reap the benefits of a generous financial aid program at Northern Illinois University.
The new Huskie Pledge aims to make NIU more affordable for Illinois families with household incomes of $75,000 or less. For qualifying full-time students, the Huskie Pledge Program will provide a grant to help completely cover first-year tuition and general fees.
“Our Huskie Pledge is yet another step toward our goal of making a life-changing NIU education affordable and accessible to as many students as possible,” said NIU President Lisa Freeman, who announced the program during her Oct. 22 State of the University address. “If you’re a hard-working student, we want to help you succeed at NIU and beyond.”
Determined after factoring in a qualifying student’s initial institutional, federal and state aid (including Pell Grants and Monetary Award Program grants), a Huskie Pledge Grant will meet the amount of any remaining first-year expenses for tuition and general fees.
If income, enrollment and university GPA criteria continue to be met, the same Huskie Pledge Grant amount received during the initial year of NIU enrollment will be renewable for up to four additional years, regardless of increases or decreases in other aid during subsequent years.
The program is open to freshmen starting at NIU in the fall of 2020. Funding is limited, and students should apply for admission to NIU and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Illinois RISE Act application by the priority deadline of Feb. 1.
Key qualifying criteria for the award include the following:
- Illinois residency.
- A cumulative 3.0 grade point average at an Illinois high school.
- Graduation from high school during the 2019-20 school year.
- A family income of $75,000 or less.
- Family assets of $75,000 or less (as defined by the FAFSA).
- Fall 2020 enrollment at NIU as a full-time student.
Sol Jensen, vice president for the Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communication, said the Huskie Pledge is designed to support the university’s mission as an institution providing access to and serving talented incoming students who reflect Illinois’ broad socioeconomic diversity.
“We think this is one of the more generous financial aid programs in the state, one that makes our university even more accessible to students of all backgrounds,” Jensen said. “If you’re a high school student currently carrying close to a 3.0 GPA, you should be checking out NIU to see if you qualify. We’re eager to see you become a Huskie.”
The Huskie Pledge Program is supported by funding from the State of Illinois.
In addition to need-based financial aid, thousands of NIU students each year receive grants and earn merit scholarships that have no family-income requirements. When students apply for admission to NIU, they are automatically considered for the merit aid.
Northern Illinois University is a student-centered, nationally recognized public research university, with expertise that benefits its region and spans the globe in a wide variety of fields, including the sciences, humanities, arts, business, engineering, education, health and law. Through its main campus in DeKalb, Illinois, and education centers for students and working professionals in Chicago, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Oregon and Rockford, NIU offers more than 100 areas of study while serving a diverse and international student body.
Paying your mortgage each month can be hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Through the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), the Hardest Hit Program is designed to help homeowners by providing financial assistance in order to pay their mortgage. If you qualify, you can earn up to $35,000 in financial assistance.
Thousands of homeowners have received assistance and saved their homes through the Hardest Hit Program. You could too!
Don’t delay. Apply today at www.illinoishardesthit.org
LUCHA’s Housing Counseling team is proud to support this program by referring clients to these services.
LUCHA (the Spanish word for “struggle”) advances housing as a human right by empowering communities- particularly the Latino and Spanish-speaking populations- through advocacy, education, affordable housing development and comprehensive housing services.