TWC continues its national work supporting and promoting apprenticeship and mentorship programs across frontline occupations in the transit industry, engaging agencies and their workforce partners, and providing ongoing technical assistance to develop and implement these programs. Last month, TWC held a meeting of the American Transit Trainers and Apprenticeship Innovators Network (ATTAIN), focusing on bus operator apprenticeship and mentorship programs. Presentations described the process of setting up mentorship and registered apprenticeship programs, provided guidance on how to identify and contact the appropriate state office of apprenticeship, and illustrated how various program components can be altered according to the needs of agencies and their workforce partners.

In addition, labor and management representatives from St. Louis Metro and ATU Local 788; and King County Metro and ATU Local 587 shared how they overcame challenges, and detailed how they measure the program’s success moving forward. Because ATTAIN builds on the collective knowledge and experience of the public transit industry, a significant part of the meeting engaged participants in a group discussion, in which they asked questions and offered their insight. Both the meeting recording and presentation slides are available online.

Don’t miss the next peer discussion webinar on June 26, when ATTAIN will focus on bus maintenance apprenticeship, featuring presentations on how to start a program at a local transit location, the essential components of effective registered apprenticeship programs, resources that can help simplify the process, and insights from labor-management partnerships on how the programs have benefited agencies and the workforce alike.

One of the key components of a strong apprenticeship program is a well-designed mentorship program, which can also serve as a standalone starting point for any agency interested in this critical area of workforce development. Transit locations with newly implemented mentorship programs need to ensure that mentors are equipped with the tools and skills that enable them to be effective guides for the mentees in the program. In collaboration with transit agencies and Amalgamated Transit Union International, TWC has developed a Mentor Training program designed to train both a cohort of mentors and the individuals charged with facilitating future mentor training programs. As a growing number of transit agencies learn the benefits of mentorship for frontline workers, the need to train mentors for new programs has increased. In 2024 alone, TWC team members have helped to facilitate mentor training sessions at St. Louis Metro, King County Metro, and CapMetro.

For those interested in experiencing a one-day version of this training, consider signing up for Making Connections 2024’s optional intensive on November 11, Making Mentoring Matter: Building and Strengthening Your Frontline Worker Mentorship Program, followed by workshops on November 12 and 13 highlighting cutting-edge practices and lessons learned in both apprenticeship and mentoring programs across the country.