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Olive-Harvey College in partnership with Mayor’s Office of New Americans and Business Affairs and Consumer Protection department, is holding a free taxi driver recruitment day event, Thursday.


Taxi driver recruitment day event aims to fill 2000 job openings.

by Kavya Sukumar
Feb 6, 2013


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Kavya Sukumar/MEDILL

David A. Boakye, a cab driver in Chicago says "We sometimes wait for 45 minutes to get a four-block ride. We don't need any more drivers."

With the economy grappling with recession, unfilled job openings are uncommon, much less thousands of them. According to the Olive-Harvey College, one of the city colleges of Chicago, there is a need for nearly 2,000 more taxi drivers in the city.

To fulfill this need, Olive-Harvey College in partnership with Mayor’s Office of New Americans and Business Affairs and Consumer Protection department, is holding a free taxi driver recruitment day event, Thursday at 10:00 a.m., at 10001 S. Woodlawn Ave.

At this event, participants can learn how to become a taxi driver in Chicago. They can also meet with representatives from Chicago taxi companies and learn about the career opportunities.

“The first step towards becoming a taxi driver is to enroll in the public passenger chauffeur training program,” said Nicole Lacey, speaking for Olive-Harvey College which offers this course.

City colleges of Chicago have been offering this course since 1985. A new class, of about 25 students, starts every week and lasts for two weeks. The event on Thursday is free and open to the public. But it costs $275 to enroll in the class.

“This program is aimed at helping the city of Chicago and its people,” Lacey said. “In the two weeks, they learn Chicago geography, navigation and customer business skills.”

Though this program is presented by Office of New Americans, this is not solely for new immigrants, said Jennifer Lipford, a spokeswoman for the city of Chicago.

“The BACP and the Office of New Americans are trying to get the word out to all communities about the different opportunities and career options that are available,” Lipford said.

More than half of the taxi drivers make more than $22,440 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. “With the economy as it is, it is the only job which can get you out of your house and making money almost immediately,” said David A. Boakye, who has been a taxi driver in Chicago since 1995.
“Any job that can get you a $100 a day is a good job,” said Boakye. “The best part, though, is that you get to set your own hours.”

But taxi drivers like Boakye are not thrilled with the prospect of adding 2,000 new drivers in the city. “We have more cab drivers than we need.” said Boakye. “I’d say we have ten drivers for every passenger who needs a ride. We don’t need more people.”