This Summer CPS Corliss High School Students Will Document Chicago Transit History Being Made: The CTA’s Red Line Extension

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This Summer CPS Corliss High School Students Will Document Chicago Transit History Being Made: The CTA’s Red Line Extension (Chicago, IL) — Chicago will get the chance to see the Red Line Extension Project (RLE) on the Far South Side through the eyes of three Corliss Early College STEM High School students starting this summer.

In a unique partnership between the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the RLE’s Construction Management contractor REDefine Southside Partners (RSP-JV), three students who are licensed drone pilots will work alongside CTA and its partners in documenting the preparation of building the historic Red Line Extension. Corliss is located in the Pullman community, which is part of the RLE project footprint.

“This unique partnership program between the CTA and Chicago Public Schools’ Corliss High School is truly a life-changing opportunity that has the potential to open doors to new opportunities for these students, while also being part of a historic investment that benefits their community for generations to come,” said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. “I am truly excited for the students who will have the unique opportunity to contribute to this project, and I appreciate the CTA and CPS working together to make this possible.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with Corliss Early College STEM High School and CPS on this special project, which will allow high school students living in the area to document this historic project,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these students that will provide them with new skills and perspective as they look beyond graduation toward future careers, as well as knowing they were a part of this remarkable period in Chicago history.”

For the second consecutive school year, select Corliss students participated in an intensive Drone Technology internship and earned their commercial Drone Pilot’s License.

“I’m ecstatic to see these CPS students collaborate on a project that allows them to apply STEM and Drone lessons to such a meaningful Chicago project,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “They will learn so much as they contribute to a project that will serve their neighbors and future students for generations to come.”

“REDefine Southside Partners is excited to work with the Corliss High School drone pilots to both document this historic project and teach them about the possibilities of utilizing drones in the construction industry as well as other career opportunities as construction managers,” said Justin Elliott, REDefine Southside Partners, Deputy Manager of CM. “We appreciate the CTA, CPS, and Corliss High School leadership for this opportunity to work with these outstanding students.”

This is yet another collaboration between CTA and CPS. Other outreach efforts have included in-class staff visits and attending student presentations within the RLE project footprint.

Program details

  • Three students at Corliss are licensed drone operators including the country’s youngest Latina licensed female drone pilot.
  • The students will be CPS interns and will work with the RLE’s construction management contractor (RSP-JV), which was awarded a contract to manage the construction on CTA’s behalf. The interns will have the opportunity to shadow and engage with staff to expose them to different career options for the construction and professional service fields.  As part of the program, the students will learn about project plans and software used in the industry.
  • The students will work closely with RSP-JV and CTA staff in the field, gathering drone footage of the “before” stage of the project and learning about construction project management.
  • The program runs June 17 – July 26, 2024.
  • CTA hopes to continue the program with CPS each summer throughout the life of the project, which is expected to be completed in late 2029.

Red Line Extension Project Overview

The RLE project is a 5.6-mile extension of the Red Line starting at 95th Street Terminal to the vicinity of 130th Street and includes building four new, accessible stations near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue and 130th Street, each of which is expected to include bus, bike, pedestrian and parking facilities. The project will also build a new rail yard and related facilities near 120th and Cottage Grove to improve operational efficiency for the entire Red Line and CTA system.

This Red Line Extension will provide a new, more direct connection to the city for Southsiders. Once the extension opens, it is expected to save commuters up to 30 minutes of time traveling from the future 130th Station to the Loop. The project will also generate long-lasting economic benefits for the Far South Side via small business and workforce/career opportunities with RLE and CTA, as well as new economic development in the project area. Construction is expected to start in late 2025 and be completed by the end of 2029. CTA anticipates awarding a design-build contract for the RLE in 2024. For more information about the Red Line Extension Project, visit

This Summer CPS Corliss High School Students Will Document Chicago Transit History Being Made: The CTA’s Red Line Extension


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