Image of a cartoon hand cupped underneath a lightbulb; reads TWC resource

Recruiting Through Connection

This case study describes the OECC (Operators Engaging and Connecting Communities) program in Metro Transit, MN, which sends operators out to community events as a recruitment tool and to help the community understand the role of the operator.

Transit Workforce Center
November 2023
TWC mini case study

Approaches to Childcare Support in the Transit Industry

Transit Workforce Center
September 2023

At New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), the first sign of a problem was attendance. Los Angeles Metro experienced a similar phenomenon of worker absences, which grew worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. At Prairie Hills Transit in South Dakota, the agency (like many employers in the community) struggled just to get workers in the first place. In community after community, public transit is suffering from low employee availability, and a key driver of the workforce shortage is clear—a lack of affordable childcare.

The good news for the public transit industry is that a variety of models already exist that support the childcare needs of frontline workers. This case study describes three such models: a voucher system, an on-site center managed directly by the agency, and a discounted center managed by a contractor with supplemental referral services. Across the spectrum of agency sizes—from a small rural agency to an agency serving one of the world’s largest cities—transit providers have opportunities to support their workers, both as employees and as parents.

Please see the summary table at the end of the case study for an overview of each of these programs.

Background: The Urgency of Childcare Needs

The United States used to have one of the highest rates of working women among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, but in recent years, the U.S. rate has declined. As parents struggle to find stable access to childcare, they are forced to limit their workforce participation, leave employment altogether, or pay an often-unsustainable portion of their income towards a childcare program. Using data from the National Survey of Children’s Health, the Center for American Progress (CAP) estimated that in 2016 nearly two million Americans made career sacrifices due to issues with childcare.

As the United States, and in particular the transit industry, faces a difficult and ongoing labor shortage, it is important for mothers to be able to participate in the workforce if they choose. Even though women are less present in the labor force, families are becoming increasingly dependent on the maternal income. Only about 30 percent of families with children rely solely on a father’s income; women are primary or equal earners in about two-thirds of families. Women of color with children are even more likely than white women to be in the labor force, be primary breadwinners, and be in low-earning jobs (NWLC).

Despite this necessity, childcare remains a determining obstacle. An analysis of the 2016 Early Childhood Program Participation Survey (ECPP) indicated that half of American families struggle to find adequate childcare, with cost most commonly reported as a barrier. Another CAP analysis found that over half of Americans live in childcare deserts (areas with few or no options for childcare). The maternal workforce participation rate is an average of three percent lower in these deserts than in areas with adequate childcare. Hispanic/Latino families are more likely to reside in childcare deserts and more likely to report location as an obstacle to obtaining childcare. The prevalence of location as an obstacle can be further explored with these interactive childcare desert maps.

Even small steps to alleviate childcare burdens can help parents join the workforce. A study of Washington, DC’s universal, full-day preschool program found that since the program’s inception, the rate of mothers participating in the city’s workforce increased by 12 percent. Subsidies to support parents in finding childcare assistance can have positive impacts on their workforce participation as well. A study of childcare and parent labor force participation found that just a 10 percent decrease in childcare costs could lead to a 0.5-2.5 percent increase in maternal employment. A paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research indicated that if childcare costs were capped at seven percent of income, the rate of low-income mothers in full-time jobs would increase by 18 percent and the overall maternal employment would increase by 10 percent, which would add 12 million mothers to the workforce. For individual families, gender parity, and the overall economy, these increases are important, and they are essential to mitigating the workforce shortage in the transit industry.

Childcare Examples in Public Transportation

Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 – New York City Transit Child Care Fund (CCF)

In New York City, TWU Local 100 and NYC Transit came together to create the Child Care Fund (CCF), a financial assistance program designed to support the families of Local 100 members who need help paying for childcare expenses. In 2002, Local 100 proposed a new benefit for its members in the collective bargaining agreement: funds through CCF to support parents of young children in obtaining childcare. MTA management, concerned about the effects of worker absences on its operations, agreed to the new benefit. “Workers were doing the calculus of whether it’s worth it to spend X amount on childcare versus just staying home and not working and caring for the child instead. Childcare is very expensive,” said Charles Jenkins, Director of TUF. This no-win choice weighed particularly heavy on women. Jenkins recounted how historically, transit has been a predominantly male industry with few accommodations for women, even proper bathrooms, until recently. Long-standing worker shortages in public transit have led the industry to begin thinking differently.

CCF provides financial support to parents for either a year-round childcare program or for summer camps; the employee can choose. The employee also has the discretion to choose who cares for their child—CCF covers about forty percent of the cost of childcare in a licensed facility (up to $320 weekly), and about twenty percent (up to $160 weekly) if the provider is not licensed—for example, if the caregiver is a family member. If the employee chooses the summer camp option, fifty percent is covered (up to $1,000). The benefit is offered to all employees in good standing who have completed one year of employment, until the employee’s child reaches age 12.

The program is not without challenges. It is first-come-first-served, with limited funds, although most people who seek out the benefit do receive it. Some members report they didn’t know about the fund, and even with a subsidy, childcare remains expensive. Still, CCF’s support helps. “Our members are very thankful for the benefit,” Jenkins said, and the agency and union have found that attendance is high when adequate childcare is in place.

Prairie Hills Transit (Spearfish, South Dakota)

Over a thousand miles away and in a much more rural area, the childcare landscape looks different. Prairie Hills, SD, has struggled for years with a lack of childcare providers in the community. Around 2010, Prairie Hills Transit (PHT) Executive Director Barb Cline noticed that federal funds were available for the construction of new buildings. Thinking creatively, she pursued grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the purpose of constructing a childcare facility within the PHT campus. “We knew this was a community problem, bigger than our own staff,” Cline reported. With only about 50 employees, PHT’s staff didn’t have enough children for a center limited to employees, so the agency opened its doors to the wider community.

Today, this licensed, on-site childcare center can accommodate up to 41 children. To handle demand, PHT is expanding to a new rented location which can enroll another 25 or so children. Because childcare has a low profit margin, no external company would take on the contract, so PHT hired its own manager for the program. Now that the building has been constructed, the program sustains itself financially. Employees of PHT receive a thirty percent discount, while other parents in the community pay full price (though some use government benefits to pay and segmented payment plans are available). Children don’t age out formally, but most enrollees are age five or younger. PHT has found that male and female employees alike take advantage of the program. Recognizing that employees won’t be able to transport their children from school to after-school childcare in the middle of a shift, PHT obtained a separate bus with car seats to provide those trips themselves.

PHT reported several challenges it encountered as the program unfolded. Licensing requirements for childcare centers have gotten stricter and PHT has had to invest time to adapt. Another challenge for the agency has been the “human versus the financial”: if a parent only wants part-time childcare, the center wants to accommodate the family’s needs, but the accommodation results in the loss of a full-time spot and thus a loss of funds. Availability of childcare remains a challenge because demand is so high, even though PHT employees receive some degree of priority; “our waiting list is 12 pages long,” Cline said. Even with a subsidy, affordability is still a question for some families. However, employee turnover is low at PHT and childcare may be part of the reason.

PHT has realized that because of the geographic dispersion of employees and the low turnover of children in the center, some employees are not able to take advantage of the center’s offerings. As the program looks to the future, PHT is looking to build a second shared-use facility to expand capacity.

LA Metro (Los Angeles, CA)

Like so many other transit agencies, Los Angeles Metro found its workforce depleted as the COVID-19 pandemic progressed. The agency recognized that a lack of childcare delayed re-entry into the workforce.

LA Metro offers three options for their employees to find support  The first is, through a memorandum of understanding, a partnership with Pathways LA to provide referral services to LA Metro employees seeking childcare. Pathways LA gives parents digestible information about childcare options and assistance navigating the possibilities available. LA Metro also utilizes its employee assistance program through ComPsych Corporation Guidance Resources, which connects employees to a Work-Life Specialist. This specialist provides personalized resources custom to the needs of the individual employees seeking childcare in their area.  The third support is more recently established: LA Metro has leased a space it owns, beginning June 2023, to Pathways LA for a childcare center within walking distance  from Metro’s central maintenance facility and headquarters. This arrangement was established through a competitive bid process. The center is not exclusive to LA Metro employees, but employees receive a 15% discount and get priority enrollment. The center serves children up to age 5 and offers everything from an infant center to an educational curriculum for older children to special needs programming. LA Metro has hired a coordinator to oversee the relationship between Pathways LA and Metro, which has been indispensable to facilitating a smooth partnership, the agency reported.

As childcare needs have evolved, LA Metro has persevered in seeking the best options for its employees within available resources. Before the Pathways LA partnership, LA Metro had partnered with a different third-party provider; with the new partnership, largely because of inflation, prices have risen and employees that transferred from one provider to the other were impacted by the change. Prices were already steep and employees felt the increase keenly.  Another challenge has been the limitations of a single facility location: the fact that the center is close to LA Metro’s headquarters and central maintenance garage reduces travel and logistics for some parents, but not all Metro employees report to those locations. For LA Metro, a multi-pronged approach has been most successful.


Finding adequate childcare services is an imperative step in entering or re-entering the workforce, but it’s not easy for every parent. In the face of a widespread workforce shortage, if transit agencies are able to help parents with this step, it can help rebuild and maintain their workforce. These examples provide evidence that agencies of varied sizes across the county can find a childcare supportive service program that works for them. LA Metro found that neither subsidies nor self-administration of a childcare center was realistic for them, but partnerships with an established and trusted provider could further their employees’ access to childcare resources. On the other hand, Prairie Hills Transit, facing a childcare desert in their community, established their own center. Meanwhile, MTA and TWU Local found that cost, not availability, was the primary limiting factor for their employees, and they were able to address that challenge for many families. Other transit agencies can take similar steps, utilize their own unique resources, and learn from the challenges faced in these examples to facilitate access to childcare services for their employees, which in turn will contribute to a stronger and more reliable workforce.


Summary of MTA/TWU Local 100, Prairie Hills Transit, and LA Metro Childcare Programs


For more information on these programs, contact:


Bus Operator Workforce Management: Practitioner’s Guide

This report, produced by the Eno Center for Transportation, International Transportation Learning Center (ITLC), and Huber & Associates, is a practitioner’s guide that provides recommendations and resources enabling transit agencies to better assess, plan, and implement their operator workforce management programs. A link to a related TRB webinar is also included.

Transit Cooperative Research Program
August 2023

Contributor(s): National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Transportation Research BoardTransit Cooperative Research Program; Robert Puentes; Philip Plotch; Brianne Eby; Paul Lewis; Karitsa Holdzkom; Xinge Wang; Douglas Nevins; Kenyon Corbett; Melissa Huber


Collaborative Planning: A Look at the Partnership between Metro Transit and Heartland Bike Share in Omaha, NE

In Omaha, Nebraska, the city’s public transit provider Metro Transit and non-profit bikeshare provider Heartland Bike Share have been collaborating on ways to make biking and transit more connected and more appealing in their community. This case study examines the partnership and how transit and micromobility integration can benefit a city, support both modes, and provide more options for travelers.

Shared-Use Mobility Center
July 2023

People First

This report from TransitCenter describes the current transit industry workforce shortage and provides recommendations for agency leadership, policy makers, and community advocates to help address the issue, including creating a robust human resources department, as well as strategies to address recruitment, training, and retention.

July 2023

Hiring and Retention Strategies Whitepaper: A Perspective from Florida Transit Agencies

This study examines what transit agencies are doing to address hiring and retention challenges, what strategies are working, and what problems still need to be solved. The report includes six case study sites from Florida transit agencies and one non-Florida transit agency, that were selected due to a variety of characteristics, including partnerships and implemented service changes.

Center for Urban Transportation Research
June 2023

Engaging Frontline Employees in Adopting New Transit Technologies

The purpose of this guidebook, made in collaboration with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), is to help management staff in the US transit industry engage frontline employees as they transition into a new era of transit technologies. The guidebook considers broader issues such as workforce shortages, provides advice and information on training frontline employees on new transit technologies, and discusses the usefulness of apprenticeships.

National Center for Applied Transit Technology
April 2023

Zero-Emission Bus Implementation Guidebook for California Transit Fleets

University of California Institute of Transportation Studies
April 2023

California is in the process of state and local efforts to reduce emissions of pollutants and climate-changing gases, particularly in the transportation industry, which has been experiencing challenges due to economic conditions and the ongoing global pandemic. To address the role of transit bus operations in meeting California’s aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) and emissions, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has implemented an ambitious Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) regulation that requires all public transit agencies to gradually transition to a 100 percent zero-emission bus (ZEB) fleet. Beginning in 2029, 100% of new purchases by transit agencies must be ZEBs, with a goal for a full transition by 2040.

This plan provides resources and advice for transitioning to a ZEB fleet, including deployment and performance assessments, supportive policies, fueling solutions, training practices for operations and maintenance, and grant program resources. Agencies outside of California can take also take advantage of this resource, which included federal and non-governmental training programs.


Trade and Transportation Talent Pipeline Blueprints: Building University-Industry Talent Pipelines in Colleges of Continuing and Professional Education

This report identifies the steps required to build talent pipelines that target in-demand trade and transportation occupations requiring specific degrees, certificates, and non-credit professional development and provides a literature review and labor market data analysis. It also includes documentation of methodology in planning a pilot program for Colleges of Professional and Continuing Education housed within each of the 23 California State University campuses.

Mineta Transportation Institute
February 2023

Labor-Management Partnerships

This page from the US Department of Labor explains the benefits of labor-management partnerships, successful examples of partnerships, how successful labor-management partnerships help workers and employers, and provides additional resources for support.

Department of Labor
January 2023

Electric Vehicle Maintenance Best Practices

This best practice spotlight article on electric vehicle maintenance provides recommended practices and case studies from transit agencies that have successfully implemented these vehicles into their fleets.

National RTAP, Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC), and Transit Workforce Center (TWC)
November 2022

How to Maintain a Frontline Workforce in 2022

October 2022

This blog post considers steps taken by transit agencies in New York City and San Diego in order to bolster and maintain their frontline workforces in the aftermath of the pandemic and years of labor shortages in the transit industry. The post describes actions like increasing wages, easing CDL requirements, and increasing recruitment efforts.

TWC mini case study

Recruiting Seniors and Retirees at Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority

Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority; Transit Workforce Center
September 2022

Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) in Massachusetts serves 15 towns within a 400 square miles area in an area where the population triples in the summer with seasonal residents. CCRTA runs seven year-round fixed route lines, several on-demand and hybrid on-demand services, and three summer shuttle services. In 2021, CCRTA served approximately 2.5 million people with 98 drivers.

Faced with driver shortages, CCRTA and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1548 worked together and negotiated driver raises and $1,000 bonuses paid after 90-days. In addition, a six-step salary scale to reach the top pay grade was reduced to two steps. Drivers can now reach the top pay level within two years.

Barnstable County’s senior population is among the largest per capita in the country, and CCRTA has instituted hiring initiatives aimed toward the senior and retiree population. In connecting with this population, CCRTA has taken a variety of actions, including:

  • Reaching out through Cape Cod Elder Services to communicate CCRTA’s interest in hiring seniors. CCRTA’s Human Services Transportation Manager sits on this organization’s board, facilitating ongoing contact.
  • Targeting recruitment of retiring teachers, firefighters, police, and school bus drivers. Cape Cod RTA staff visited schools, fire houses, police stations, and municipal offices to share recruitment information.
  • Visited each town on Cape Cod, talked with local retirement agency officials, and posted and mailed banners and notices.
  • Overall increase in the agency’s traditional and social media presence generally, including advertising explicitly aimed at seniors, including on social media. Developed advertising, messaging, and imagery to make seniors and retirees feel welcome. To see samples of advertising, visit Cape Cod RTA Jobs on Facebook, the ad on their website’s front page,  and see the video, featuring older drivers, on the CCRTA career page.
  • Emphasizing the short time it takes to reach the highest salary level, a compelling message for seniors and retirees, who often value salaries more than benefits, as well as the ability to reach the highest level within their time at the agency.
  • Offering various employment options, including full-time and part-time, and seasonal. The agency has found that individual needs lead to varied choices; they estimate their senior employees have split 50-50 in what scheduling option they choose.
  • Providing full CDL training, testing and additional agency-specific training for all employees without CDLs. The agency pays for all training.
  • Offering options for non-CDL drivers, who operate smaller vans. The agency encourages the CDL route because it gives drivers more flexibility in shifts and allows them to work and get paid at a higher rate.
  • Currently exploring working with the Barnstable County Retirement Commission to arrange for a notice about CCRTA employment options to be part of the Commission’s information packet when an employee puts in for retirement.

CCRTA values its older workforce and their commitment to the job; through its efforts, it has been able to hire a dozen seniors and retirees as drivers. The agency notes that with this population, it is reasonable to expect excellent attendance, while also allowing for the potential of more short-term disability and time for medical appointments. COVID-19 saw CCRTA lose about half of its senior workforce, given seniors’ sensitivity to exposure. However, CCRTA is renewing its recruitment efforts in this area through the various methods noted.

For more information, contact:

Penny Grossman, H.R. Manager – – 508-385-1430, ext. 106

TWC mini case study

Come Drive with (B)us – Akron METRO Operator Recruitment Event

Akron METRO Regional Transit Authority; Transit Workforce Center
September 2022


Akron METRO Regional Transit Authority (METRO): Transit agency serving Summit County, Ohio and the city of Akron, with a fleet totaling 231 vehicles: 140 large buses and 91 smaller paratransit vehicles. METRO employs 425 team members.

Stark State College:  Local event venue and partner in advertising campaign. METRO is currently in the final stages of an agreement with Stark State to supplement its CDL training program.

Program Summary

METRO’s “Come Drive with (B)us” event was a major initiative designed to recruit bus operators.  Held at Stark State College, the event featured on-site bus-related activities, interviews and job applications.  Extensive outreach activities before the event through diverse outlets, combined with the themed ad campaign, brought 99 interested participants and resulted in 71 contingent offers. The key “draw” to this event was the ability to test drive our vehicles on a closed course alongside our staff.  METRO’s idea was that if the thought of driving a bus was keeping people from applying, they could offer a nontraditional mechanism to overcome that hesitancy.  Once that challenge was overcome, the process could focus on the soft skills related to empathy and great customer service that are critical to success.

Key Program Elements

  • Pre-event publicity
    • Pop Art themed ad campaign (viewable on Facebook; an example is attached below as a PDF)
    • Free and purchased advertising through social media, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts
    • Information on METRO’s website
    • Print ads in local daily and weekly publications
    • Two digital billboards, and flyers on buses and posters at METRO’s transit center
    • A radio ad on several local radio stations
    • Two days before to the event, Stark State College promoted the event on their digital sign, readable from the expressway
    • Four radio personalities from four different stations drove the bus two to three weeks prior to the event and promoted on the air, including one station that put together its own video.
    • Television interviews that resulted in a full story and a variety of mentions of the event on other stations
    • Creating two bus wraps with the pop art feel (see PDF below) on careers, though not event-specific
    • Outreach to past applicants
    • Videos of three in-house of staff driving for the first time, along with videos featuring County Executive and Representative Casey Weinstein, and an invite video from METRO’s CEO
  • Event activities and design (see PDF of signage below)
    • Participants were told to bring a valid driver’s license
    • Four clearly-marked stations for applicants to go to where they had the opportunity to:
      • Apply
      • Interview
      • Secure a mobility device
      • Drive a bus
    • Every applicant moved through all four stations
    • At final stop, attendees received:
      • Bag of information
      • Swag
      • Digital and paper copies of the CDL training booklet for them to start studying
    • Event planning activities
      • Started six to eight weeks before event
      • Committee was made of HR, Marketing, Operations, Maintenance and Safety/Security
      • Eighteen staff members worked the day of the event – five working check-in/applications, five doing on-site interviews, two working the mobility station, five running the “test drive” station, and one runner to move between all stations to relieve backlog
      • Used seven 40 foot buses (2 spares) and 2 paratransit vehicles


  • Ninety-nine event attendees interviewed and were able to test drive
  • Twenty-five additional people applied who could not attend; follow up interviews were planned
  • 71 of the 99 were moved through to a “contingent offer” pending background checks with a start date of September 26th
  • Twenty-three of the 99 had areas of their application that required reviewing before proceeding

For more information on this event, contact: Jarrod Hampshire – Chief Operations Officer, METRO RTA 330.808.0144

More recruitment advertising materials and resources can be found here.


Recruiting and Retaining the Best: Transit Workforce Best Practices

This blog post from Transportation for America details successful strategies and best practices employed by transit agencies to empower their operator and maintenance workforces.

Transportation for America
September 2022
TWC mini case study

Second Chance Transit Programs

Several transit agencies across the country have established Second Chance programs to support formerly-incarcerated individuals as they reenter the workforce; these programs set pathways into frontline transit positions, often focusing on driver recruitment. These initiatives involve active collaboration between transit agencies and departments of corrections.  Agencies have also worked with other partners, including their local unions, state and local workforce development agencies, ex-offender support programs, and local community organizations.  

August 2022

Basic descriptions of some current state and local programs can be found at the links below.

TWC mini case study

IndyGo’s Employment Opportunities Page

The IndyGo transit agency, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, offers high-quality career information on its website. This resource summarizes effective elements of the career page.

August 2022

IndyGo’s career page helps site visitors to understand what it’s like to work at the agency and how to apply.  The page also highlights key job benefits and emphasizes the opportunity to serve the community. Overall, the employment section of IndyGo’s website demonstrates a number of key communication elements that support effective outreach to potential applicants.  These elements include:

  • An easily accessible and identifiable section on the website.  “Employment” has its own clickable category, not a subcategory that may be harder to locate.
  • Clear statements about IndyGo’s mission, emphasizing community service, connection, and working together to make a difference in people’s lives.  These messages attract a range of potential target audiences, and they make clear the difference between a public service career, as opposed to other careers applicants may be considering.
  • A detailed list of benefits, with additional specific benefits for drivers noted.  Among those benefits, the list includes unique aspects of the driver position that distinguishes it from other potentially competing careers (e.g., long-haul trucking), noting benefits such as “all local work.”
  • Highlighted aspects of the driver position that emphasize the connection with and support provided to riders.
  • A thoughtful list of questions for potential applicants to consider about themselves and the type of work they might want before they decide to move ahead with the application.
  • Detailed information on how and where to apply, basics of how to prepare for and what to bring to an interview, and important specifics about the steps of the hiring process and initial orientation and training programs.
  • IndyGo’s Why I Drive segment on their website includes a video featured in the National Frontline Workforce Recruitment Campaign Toolkit video library elsewhere on this website.  That link on IndyGo’s website also features brief worker profiles, another summary of benefits, and a note on IndyGo’s Second Chance Initiative.
  • IndyGo’s website includes a prominent option to translate the site into Spanish.


Pathway to Promote Diversity within Public Transit Workforce

Considering the transit industry’s existing diversity and inclusion toolkits and guidelines, this project emphasizes lessons from in-depth interviews with leaders from 18 transit agencies across the country.  The report highlights: the critical factors that impact the current level of diversity and career mobility within transit agencies; how diversity efforts help explore resources and provide opportunities for effective and robust employee engagement; and the significance of evaluation systems in creating a more transparent recruitment process that initiates structural shifts, resulting in better recruiting.

Mineta Transportation Institute
August 2022

National Transit Frontline Worker Recruitment Campaign

Across the United States, whether large, small, urban, rural, or tribal, transit agencies are facing the challenge of recruiting and retaining drivers, mechanics, and technicians who can operate and maintain the buses of our public transit systems.  To help support local transit efforts, TWC is developing the #ConnectingMyCommunity national frontline worker recruitment campaign, coordinated with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and industry, labor, and community partners from around the country.

Transit Workforce Center
July 2022

Strategic Workforce Planning in Transit: Fundamentals of Mentoring

Transit Workforce Center
June 2022

This is the third in the Transit Workforce Center’s webinar series on strategic workforce development planning in transit. Labor and management leaders from across the country discussed the impact of mentorship programs in their agencies.

Mentor programs provide a powerful and effective tool for workforce development and retention. For maintenance occupations, mentors deliver hands-on training support, putting skills in diverse workplace contexts beyond the classroom. For bus operators, mentors provide guidance that addresses real world situations, building and expanding on basic training and creating ongoing support for each new operator. In every transit agency across all occupations, seasoned employees have stores of knowledge waiting to be shared. Without mentorship, this knowledge can be lost when workers retire or move on. A well-structured mentorship program, designed in partnership with the workers, ensure this expertise is passed on. Strong mentorship programs also provide mentors with leadership opportunities and mentees with the skills and confidence they need to succeed, increasing expertise and morale throughout the organization.

Linked below are a video recording of the webinar, the associated slides, and a webpage where all past TWC webinars are available.

TWC mini case study

Bus Operator Recruitment and Retention: Confronting Obstacles and Creating Opportunity

This multimedia case study details a high-road training partnership jointly operated by Golden Gate Transit and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1575.

Transit Workforce Center; Golden Gate Transit; Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1575
June 2022

Golden Gate Transit (GGT) serves four counties in San Francisco’s North Bay. GGT suspended approximately 90% of its commute service during COVID. As of Spring 2022, the agency was operating at roughly 50% of pre -COVID service levels, but needed to hire and retain large numbers of bus operators as ridership demand returned. To achieve this goal, a GGT and ATU labor-management partnership created a high-road training partnership that worked with local colleges and California Transit Works to establish bus operator mentorship, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. To guide its initiatives and actions, the partnership also examined data and asked underlying questions about the root causes of their employment challenges, resulting in reevaluating and adjusting some of its pathways to employment and hiring guidelines.

This resource contains presentation slides and video of a Golden Gate Transit/ATU presentation. The entire June 7, 2022 TWC webinar, Recruiting and Developing Today’s Transit Workforce, can be found here. It includes a question and answer session, beginning at 51:53, that covers more detail on this and other recruitment initiatives discussed in the webinar.

TWC mini case study

The Power of Partnership: Automotive Technology/Collision Career Technical Education Program

This multimedia case study details an internship program developed by the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) and Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 208. This resource contains a brief written summary, presentation slides, and video of a COTA-TWU Local 208 presentation. The entire June 7, 2022 TWC webinar, Recruiting and Developing Today’s Transit Workforce, can be found here. The complete webinar recording includes a question and answer session, beginning at 51:53, that covers more detail on this and other recruitment initiatives.

Transit Workforce Center; Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA); Transport Workers Union Local 208
June 2022

To meet its need for vehicle maintenance technicians, COTA leadership partnered with TWU Local 208 and Columbus City Schools to provide a Vehicle Maintenance Internship Program, helping students already enrolled in an automotive program to develop additional technology competencies and prepare them for entry level positions. The COTA Vehicle Maintenance Internship Program provides career technical center high school students who have completed their junior year in a participating career-technical program the opportunity to work as paid interns in the Vehicle Maintenance Department at COTA. Students receive classroom training, hands-on training, laboratory experiences, and are partnered with mentors in preparation to enter the workforce as entry level automotive/collision technologies service technicians. From this foundation, COTA has now established a state-registered pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program to support vehicle technician hiring, retention, and workforce development.


Strategic Workforce Planning in Transit: Developing, Supporting, and Strengthening Your Incumbent Workforce

This webinar, presented on April 27, 2022, explores important considerations and best practices for creating strong strategic workforce development plans.

FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez provided opening remarks, followed by insightful workforce development guidance and case examples from leading, experienced, and insightful presentations from IndyGo (Indianapolis IN), ATU International and Local 558, SporTran (Shreveport LA), TWU Local 100- NYCTA Training and Upgrading Fund (NYC), SEPTA (Philadelphia PA), and ProgressWorx.

It is the first in a series of TWC webinars on Strategic Workforce Planning.

Transit Workforce Center
April 2022

Who Rules Transit?

This report examines who makes key decisions at transit agencies and who is affected by these decisions. The report provides case studies of agencies that have taken steps to give transit riders and workers more power in the decision-making process.

April 2022

Zero Emission Transit Bus Technology Analysis Volume 2

This report, Volume 2, is the second edition of the Zero Emission Transit Bus Technology Analysis (ZETBTA) which includes results from the fuel-cell electric bus (FCEB), battery electric bus (BEB), diesel hybrid bus, and conventional diesel bus technologies control fleet. It integrates lessons learned and best practices gleaned from AC Transit’s extensive experience in deploying ZEB technologies, including developing innovative workforce training programs, data integration and management, and transit deployment viability.

AC Transit
December 2021

Diversity and Inclusion in Registered Apprenticeship

This case study examines the NUL Consortium’s strategies for providing technical assistance to employers as they seek to promote and diversify their Registered Apprenticeship programs. It includes a best practices toolkit detailing EEO compliance, affirmative action planning, and NUL’s employer DEIA training. It seeks to serve as a replicable guide for industry, equity, and opportunity partners, community-based organizations, and other groups or individuals with similar goals.

National Urban League
July 2021

High School Students on Track for Transportation Careers

Mineta Transportation Institute
June 2021

This report provides an overview of the Mineta Summer Transportation Institute, one of the National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) Programs, which recruits high-school students from diverse ethnic backgrounds, exposes them to a variety of academic and practical experiences in the transportation field in the Bay Area, and provides participating students with a variety of science, technology, and employment skills. The report shares program history, demographics, activities, etc.


Montgomery County Bus Fleet Management Plan

The Montgomery County Bus Fleet Management Plan features a particularly in-depth zero-emission fleet transition plan, including an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions in the county, implementation challenges associated with zero-emission buses, and recommendations for fleet transition. The plan also dives into maintenance facilities, energy costs, and future infrastructure needs.

Montgomery County Department of Transportation
June 2021

Wayside Worker Protection Technology—TrackSafe Phase II Research & Demonstration (Report 0194)

This report outlines research and demonstration of a roadway worker protection (RWP) warning technology developed by Bombardier Rail called TrackSafe. The system was installed at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and was designed to reduce the hazards of working within a transit rail right-of-way (ROW).

Federal Transit Administration
May 2021

APTA Transit Workforce Readiness Guide

APTA’s Transit Workforce Readiness Guide is a highly interactive and easy-to-use online resource for executives and their staff to assist organizations in building a more diverse talent pipeline by attracting high school students, especially those coming from underserved communities, into entry-level transit positions.

American Public Transportation Association
March 2021

Mountain Line Zero-Emission Bus Implementation Plan

This is the Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) Implementation Plan prepared by the Northern Arizona intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (referred to as Mountain Line) in contract with the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) with the aim of identifying a zero-emission roadmap for full-scale deployment.

Center for Transportation and the Environment; AECOM
December 2020

Transit Apprenticeship at Pierce Transit: From the Ground Up

This article in APTA’s Passenger Transport issue discusses the apprenticeship program at Pierce Transit, which is part of a transit apprenticeship initiative and has received technical assistance in structuring their apprenticeship program as well as financial assistance to reimburse some training costs.

American Public Transportation Association; International Transportation Learning Center
October 2020

MTS Zero-Emission Bus Fleet Transition Study

This study, performed by the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), creates a plan for a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2040 to be in compliance with the Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) regulation enacted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The results of the study will be used to inform MTS Board members and educate MTS staff of estimated costs, benefits, constraints, and risks to guide future planning and decision making.

Center for Transportation and the Environment; AECOM; Fiedler Group
September 2020

Bus Maintenance and Bus Testing Program Peer-to-Peer Exchange

This report presents a summary of the bus maintenance worker training peer exchange, hosted by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Significant shifts in the types of transit buses being procured (e.g., from traditional buses to alternative fuel/low- and no-emission buses) require new and different types of frontline worker training. Through the peer exchange, stakeholders, including industry representatives, shared knowledge about bus maintenance worker training and discussed best practices for developing the next generation of highly-skilled bus technicians.

Federal Transit Administration
May 2020

Innovative Transit Workforce Development Projects of 2015: Summative Evaluation

This report provides the results of an evaluation of Innovative Transit Workforce Development Program projects awarded in Fiscal Year 2015. Based on a competitive application process, FTA awarded 16 workforce development projects to transit authorities, higher education institutions, Native American tribes, and nonprofit organizations individually or as a consortium.

Federal Transit Administration
February 2020

Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit

This TCRP report explores the strategies that have been deployed in transit and other related industries in order to attract, retain, and advance women in a variety of roles. It includes a survey of current representation of women, barriers faced, and diversity initiatives in the transportation industry, as well as case studies from several major transit agencies.

Transit Cooperative Research Program
January 2020

Contributor(s): National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Transportation Research BoardTransit Cooperative Research Program; ICF Allison Alexander


Apprenticeship is a Win-Win for Workers and Employers

These two case studies provide an analysis of apprenticeship programs at Baltimore Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (BACH) in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Guilford Apprenticeship Partners (GAP) in Greensboro, North Carolina. The case studies highlight the different approaches each organization used for their apprenticeship programs.

National Fund for Workforce Solutions
December 2019
TWC mini case study

Emerging Leaders Presentation: Recruiting & Retaining Bus Operators

This slidedeck, from the APTA Emerging Leaders Program class of 2019 presentations, provides an overview of research and transit agency case studies to capture key themes on the topics of bus operator recruitment and retention.

American Public Transportation Association
December 2019

The High Road to Public Transit

This report provides a project overview of the high road training partnership (HRTP) in California between Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and ATU Local 265 and the formation of California Transit Works (CTW).

California Workforce Development Board
June 2019

Innovative Transit Workforce Development Projects of 2012: Summative Evaluation

This report provides the results of the Innovative Transit Workforce Development Program Evaluation of projects awarded in Fiscal Year 2012. FTA awarded a total of $7,048,898 for 16 workforce development projects. Recipients included transit authorities, higher education institutions, Native American tribes, and nonprofit organizations.

Federal Transit Administration
February 2019

Behind the Wheel

This report, Behind the Wheel: A case study of Mission College and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s Coach Operator Apprenticeship Program, is part of the Social Policy Research Associates’ evaluation of the California Apprenticeship Initiative. The case study describes the development of the Coach Operator and Transportation Apprenticeship, including why the partners chose an apprenticeship model to meet their training needs, how the program was developed and structured, and what apprentices and employers report about their experiences in the program. It concludes with a discussion of the program’s sustainability.

Foundation for California Community Colleges; Social Policy Research Associates
January 2019

Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies

This report is a synthesis of the current state of practice associated with the implementation of transportation workforce planning and development strategies at state departments of transportation (DOTs) and associated local and tribal technical assistance programs (LTAPs/TTAPs). The synthesis includes a literature review and survey results of both state DOTs and LTAPs, as well as case studies of five state DOTs, presenting an in-depth analysis of processes and considerations, challenges, lessons learned, and keys to success.

National Cooperative Highway Research Program
January 2019

Contributor(s): National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Transportation Research BoardNational Cooperative Highway Research Program; Robert Puentes; Alice Grossman; Brianne Eby; Alex Bond


Not Just an Ache: Examining the Rate of Musculoskeletal Pain in City Bus Drivers

This paper examines the rates of musculoskeletal discomfort in a sample of 957 city bus drivers at King County Metro. The researchers conducted a survey demonstrate that city bus drivers experience very high rates of musculoskeletal pain in at least one area of the body. The paper includes policy recommendations, such as the provision of active-suspension seats in the agency’s fleet of buses and better placement of key controls in the drivers’ workstation, as well as considerations for further investigation.

Mineta Transportation Institute
November 2018

Equity from the Frontline: Workers’ Insight and Leadership Supports a Network of Apprenticeships in Transit

This case study, part of the Equity in Apprenticeship report series from COWS at UW-Madison, explores the Joint Workforce Investment in the South Bay Valley Transportation Authority, which has developed a web of apprenticeships and advancement opportunities. The series highlights programs that use apprenticeship and mentorship to extend occupational opportunity to historically marginalized groups, especially people of color and women.

COWS at University of Wisconsin
August 2018

The Transit Elevator-Escalator Training Consortium: A Model for Successful Training Development

A report on the process, products and outcomes related to the first National consortium for development of training for public transportation maintenance employees. This joint labor-management effort set a proven model for multiple other similar consortia. Products include – instruction ready courseware, a nationally recognized apprenticeship program for transit maintenance elevator/escalator maintainers and train-the-trainer program.

International Transportation Learning Center
September 2016

From Operator to Chief – One Employee’s Story

This video provides a description of King County DOT’s program for recruitment and advancement options for current employees, with an emphasis on diversity, along with one employees’ story about how he was supported in his journey from bus operator to Base Chief.


King County Department of Transportation
October 2015

Selected Public Workforce Development Programs in the United States: Lessons Learned for Older Workers

This report provides a selective review of public workforce development programs in the United States over the past 80 years, placing special emphasis on the importance these programs have to older Americans. It discusses how the public workforce system developed, how it operates today, significant programs and target groups, common employment services and job training strategies, and what is known about program effectiveness.

American Association of Retired Persons
March 2015

Pathways to Equity: Effective Transportation Career Partnerships

Expanding access to quality careers in transit systems and in transit capital construction has been the focus of innovative local programs around the country in recent years. This report presents case profiles of two of the most promising examples – one for youth Career Pathways into transit industry careers, and one for targeted construction hiring and training of disadvantaged workers for transit capital projects. The two local case profiles are a Project Labor Agreement in Los Angeles providing expanded access to jobs and training for public transportation capital construction and a youth Career Pathways partnership in Philadelphia linking career and technical education with future transit careers. Both of these models, if taken to scale in the transit industry, can have positive impacts, locally and nationally, for improving access to family-sustaining careers and training and for improving educational outcomes for disadvantaged groups – urban low-income and minority groups as well as women – who have previously been under-represented in these occupations.

International Transportation Learning Center
December 2013

Promoting Employment in Transit Construction Projects by Members of Minority and Low Income Communities

This report summarizes research investigating the participation of members of low-income and minority populations in employment generated by transit projects and identifies practices to increase their participation. It features four in-depth case studies of light rail projects.

Federal Transit Administration
July 2013

Transit Green Jobs Training Partnership

The Department of Labor selected the Transportation Learning Center as a Green Jobs funds recipient because the Center has been at the forefront of addressing the issue of insufficient training in the transit industry and building constructive partnerships between labor and management to address this critical issue. The grant succeeded in creating new training approaches and providing training to thousands of workers in key transit occupations, with a consistent focus on greening the economy and our communities.

The Green Jobs Training Partnership is built on the Center’s successful model of creating and supporting labor-management partnerships to plan and deliver transit training that provides instruction based on national standards. The Partnerships plan and carry out training, to help transit employees obtain the skills they need to stay current in an industry that is ever changing.

International Transportation Learning Center
August 2012



Bus Operator Restroom Use Case Study

In collaboration with the Bus Operator National Joint Training Standards Committee, the International Transportation Learning Center developed this Bus Operator Restroom Use report, a case study and compendium of practitioner resources on restroom use, including a history of restroom use policy at Minneapolis Metro Transit. The resources in this report also include a model community restroom licensing agreement, route-specific restroom locations chart, and example collective bargaining language.

International Transportation Learning Center
January 2012

Quality Training Pays: Training Investment Pays for Itself Six Times Over

You never know how well you are doing until you find metrics with which you can measure outcomes. The Transportation Learning Center has capitalized on this insight through a series of in-depth research reports chronicling work by labor-management partnerships in Philadelphia, PA and Albany, NY. This fact sheet outlines these findings and shows a substantial return on training investment.

International Transportation Learning Center
June 2011

Professional Certification and Credentialing Program for the Transit Industry

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Research Results Digest 100: Professional Certification and Credentialing Program for the Transit Industry explores the findings of a literature review and a gap analysis of the efficacy of four transit-specific professional development programs. The report also examines potential strategies that might be used to deploy and maintain a transit industry certification and credentialing program.

Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP)
April 2011

Contributor(s): National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Transportation Research Board; Transit Cooperative Research Program


Transit Partnership Training: Metrics of Success

The Transit Partnership Training: Metrics of Success report is an overview of the key findings of the Metrics of Success series, which chronicles measurable outcomes, in particular return on investment, of transit training partnerships in which the International Transportation Learning Center has had a substantial role.

International Transportation Learning Center
February 2010

Training Partnerships That Work: An Emerging National Network

Training Partnerships That Work provides vivid summaries of successful labor-management training partnerships at sites across the country. The cases included here represent a diverse set of transit systems and unique training partnerships. Most importantly, they illustrate how labor and management can work together successfully on issues of training, and provide valuable lessons for other industries facing the problem of retiring baby boomers and inadequate capacity to train replacement workers.

International Transportation Learning Center
February 2010

Building an Apprenticeship and Training System for Maintenance Occupations

​This article discusses the joint training and apprenticeship system emerging in maintenance occupations in the American transit industry, as well as related challenges and strategies to overcome them. The article reports on early results, including efforts to develop a consensus national framework for apprenticeship and training in transit maintenance.

Written with Robert W. Glover, the University of Texas at Austin.

International Transportation Learning Center
January 2009

Building Capacity for Transit Training: International and Domestic Comparisons

This working paper provides an overview of the findings from research on strong industry-wide workforce development systems in six other countries and in several US industries. It identifies key features that could be adapted for use to create more effective US transit training.

International Transportation Learning Center
December 2008

Innovative Practices in Transit Workforce Development

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Research Results Digest 88: Innovative Practices in Transit Workforce Development examines innovative practices in workforce development in several cities in Canada, France, and Belgium.

Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP)
June 2008

Contributor(s): National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Transportation Research Board; Transit Cooperative Research Program


Metrics of Success Series

The Metrics of Success series chronicles measurable outcomes, in particular return on investment, of transit training partnerships in which the International Transportation Learning Center has had a substantial role. Each Metrics report focuses on quantitative data from a specific partnership, while Transit Partnership Training: Metrics of Success is an overview of key findings from all Metrics reports to date.

International Transportation Learning Center
May 2008

Pennsylvania Transit on the High Road

This report is part of a larger case study that chronicles the development of the Keystone Transit Career Ladder Partnership, including the process of job task/work task analysis, skills gap analysis, and data-driven training development.

International Transportation Learning Center

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Joint Workforce Investment Program

This case study examines the Joint Workforce Investment (JWI), established in 2006, which is a joint labor management partnership between the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 265 (ATU).  It includes discussion of three primary programs brought together under the JWI initiative: the Maintenance Career Ladders Training Project (MCLTP), New Operator/Mentor Pilot Project, and Health and Wellness Project.

ICF International