Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) have announced that Greencorps Chicago, the City’s paid, green industry training program for individuals with barriers to employment, is now accepting applications for its 2021 class. The training program starts in late March and candidates are encouraged to apply before the end of February to maximize the chance of acceptance.
This year’s program is receiving a boost of $2 million, courtesy of a grant awarded by the State of Illinois’ Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) Program, created as a key equity element of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. The grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority is intended to help communities hardest hit by the failed war on drugs.
“The City of Chicago remains strongly committed to creating opportunities for all of our residents and removing barriers for those who face challenges entering the job market,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Thanks to Greencorps, we are able to make this commitment a reality and harness the talents of those who have been excluded from our workforce for far too long. We are incredibly proud of and grateful for the great work Greencorps is doing to connect our residents with opportunities to get employed and get involved in the green economy right here in Chicago.”
The mission of the CDOT-administered Greencorps program is to empower residents from Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods to create change in their lives and communities through training, service, and career opportunities in environmental fields.
“Greencorps Chicago provides a tremendous opportunity for Chicagoans who face challenges breaking into the job market to both earn a wage and gain invaluable experience and skills that prepare them for a productive career in the growing green job sector,” CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi said. “We are very pleased that the R3 Program is allowing us to expand the program and prepare more trainees for future success in jobs that will make Chicago a greener City.”
Greencorps trainees earn $15-an-hour and receive on-the-job training in the field and classroom. Field training takes place while working on projects for the Chicago Park District, the Cook County Forest Preserves, City vacant lots, and other project partners. In the classroom, trainees will learn about horticulture, ecology, green infrastructure, tree care, pesticide use, and other topics.
Greencorps trainees are also offered a Number of professional certifications including Defensive Driving Course, First Aid/CPR, OSHA Hazardous Waste Operator, OSHA 10-Hour Safety, Chicago Wilderness Prescription Burn Class, the Illinois Pesticide license and others.
Throughout their time with Greencorps, trainees are supported with social services, mentoring, and professional coaching, increasing their ability to secure full time employment upon completion of the training.
Trainees also have access to a placement coordinator that works with graduates to identify successful employment matches and post placement follow-up. Greencorps grads have gone on to work at the Chicago Park District, ecological restoration company Cardno, the Cook County Forest Preserves, and many other businesses and organizations.
Interested candidates who want to apply for the Greencorps Chicago 2021 program should visit the website – https://greencorpschicago.org/apply/ – or call 312-746-9777.
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