CHICAGO (CBS) — The CTA announced late Friday afternoon it will continue operating beyond this weekend the Second Chance program, which employs nonviolent ex-convicts, victims of abuse and other hard-to-place workers.

The Chicago Transit Authority and the unions it’s been negotiating with reached an “agreement in principle” to keep operating the program pending ratification by the memberships of both Amalgamated Transit Union Locals 241 and 308, the CTA said in a statement.

The announcement comes a day after U.S. Reps Bobby Rush and Danny Davis, along with other local leaders, held a press conference to voice their support for the 9-year-old program.

“This agreement in principle is great news for the nearly 200 men and women currently in this nationally renowned program, who will be able to continue to support themselves and their families, while working to build a foundation for their future success,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter said in the statement.

The Second Chance program is believed to be one of the largest programs of its kind in the country, with more than 600 participants since 2011. Workers in the program clean CTA buses and trains. Some also can apply for mechanical training.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2016. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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