Osha Richardson is grateful for the assistance that he received from AACF, citing that Executive Director, “Evelyn is one of the greatest women I’ve ever met.” - Osha Richardson.
Having grown up on Chicago’s South Side, Osha completed high school and entered college courses. He took courses at three colleges but his alcohol and marijuana use spiraled out of control and he eventually found himself homeless with a court case against him for attempting to sell marijuana. At this point he was struggling with addiction.
It took my relationship to swing a bat at me to let me know I had a problem.
His sister living on Chicago’s West Side took him in, but eventually he was put out and was experiencing homelessness when he found his way to Hope House an organization located on Chicago’s West Side, assisting men with reentry after prison and recovery from substance abuse. At Hope House Osha created connections with additional organizations.
Osha found assistance through a counselor at the UCAN, a Chicago-based organization supporting trauma-induced youth with support, counseling, and workforce development. His UCAN counselor Roy Pierson connected him with AACF in December 2019, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was brewing overseas.
Osha received further aid from AACF in the form of workforce development, internships, assistance with job seeking skills, and most importantly connection to the CTA Second Chance Program in October 2020, where he has been a program participant for the past 10 months as a Bus Service Apprentice. In this role Osha services CTA busses at the end of their line with a rigorous interior cleansing, especially crucial during this time of the COVID-19 Delta variant spreading.
Through the CTA Second Chance Program Osha has earned his CDL permit and will continue his driving training to obtain his CDL which will qualify him for a position of Bus Operator, driving passengers and servicing busses in the garage, or Bus Servicer, working in the garage and servicing CTA busses. There are other job opportunities available through CTA including a variety of positions working for the trains and railroads.
CTA has helped Osha to stay off of drugs with regular drug tests and has motivated him to do well in his position with the requirement of needing two managers in the program to sponsor his advancement through training and future permanent job opportunities with CTA. Osha’s goals are to continue working for CTA, maintaining a better-earning career with benefits, and eventually retiring with the company.
We are proud of Osha’s accomplishments in the CTA Second Chance Program! And we are aware that not all people have the ability to connect with people and organizations that Osha has proven to have in his journey to success. Help us to spread the word that help is out there. We provide education, training, internships, job placement, and financial aid to those who qualify. Connect those you may know who may need any kind of workforce assistance to AACF.
[CTA] is a great company. Everybody needs help with transportation.
Learn more about CTA’s Second Chance Program in our newsletter