ATTAIN Rail/Signals/Traction Power and Facilities/Elevator-Escalator Committees Meeting

The American Transit Training and Apprenticeship Innovators Network (ATTAIN), run by the Transit Workforce Center (TWC), is a peer network created for transit agencies and labor unions to explore new apprenticeship programs or enhance existing programs for their frontline workforce.

This recorded meeting of the ATTAIN committees for Rail/Signals/Traction Power and Facilities/Elevator-Escalator serves as a resource for transit industry stakeholders and includes presentations on apprenticeship and case studies of successful programs across the country.

Transit Workforce Center
September 2022

Recruiting Seniors and Retirees – Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority

Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) & Transit Workforce Center
September 2022

Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority 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


Transit Recruitment and Second Chance 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.  Basic descriptions of some current state and local programs can be found at these links, discussing ChicagoIowa, Oregon, and Indianapolis.

Transit Workforce Center
August 2022

IndyGo’s Website – Recruitment

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.


Bus Operators in Crisis

TransitCenter’s report, entitled Bus Operators in Crisis: The Steady Deterioration of One of Transit’s Most Essential Jobs, and How Agencies Can Turn Things Around, analyzes the nationwide phenomenon of bus operator shortages and advocates for enhanced job quality in the occupation.

This resource includes links to the report as well as to a webinar from July, 2022.

July 2022

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.

A video recording of the webinar and the associated slides are attached below (if you are on the main Resource Center page, click “Learn More” to view the video). Please follow the link below to view all past TWC webinars and to register for upcoming events.

Transit Workforce Center
April 2022

Managing the Labor Shortage at Transit Agencies

This article examines labor shortages in the public transit industry. It focuses on the following points:

  • Transit agencies across the United States are experiencing a significant shortage in labor, that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened. This shortage is negatively impacting the services they provide to the public.
  • Employees at transit agencies have a significantly higher median age than employees in other industries.
  • Transit agencies should use data and information to consider recruiting and retaining employees for the long term.

Shared-Use Mobility Center
November 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 (APTA)
March 2021

ITLC Elevator/Escalator Training Consortium

The International Transportation Learning Center (ITLC) organizes multiple national training consortia to develop standards-based national training courseware for frontline occupations in public transportation organizations.

The Transit Elevator-Escalator Training Consortium (the Consortium) was the first in an ongoing series of industry-wide collaborative programs to develop integrated systems of training for key frontline occupations in public transportation. Building on national training standards developed by industry Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from 2006 to 2010 and then adopted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the Consortium developed a full set of standardized national courseware to support training and apprenticeship programs for transit elevator/escalator (El-Es) technicians. The curriculum and courseware development team was composed of subject matter experts (SMEs) from five member agencies and unions from across the country. Membership of the Consortium consists of transit systems that maintain their vertical transportation equipment in-house, rather than relying on outside contractors. Equipment manufacturers contributed access to their technical drawings and manuals to enrich the courseware.

The list of courseware as of Summer 2020 is contained in the attached catalog.


International Transportation Learning Center
September 2020

Training and Apprenticeships to Address Transit Workforce Gaps

It is well known that public transit in the United States faces a workforce skills crisis. A lot of attention — properly — goes to training for skilled craft positions, like bus mechanics. Bus operators also do skilled work, and there are a lot more of them. This piece explores the role of training and apprenticeship programs in meeting workforce needs in transit, with a focus on operators.

Eno Center for Transporation
August 2019

Behind the Wheel

Behind the Wheel: A case study of Mission College and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s Coach Operator Apprenticeship Program, is part of SPR’s evaluation of the California Apprenticeship Initiative. The case study describes the development of the Coach Operator Apprenticeship program 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 (SPR)
January 2019

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

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

COWS at University of Wisconsin
August 2018

Troops to Transit: A Resource for Recruiting and Developing Veterans for Public Transportation Careers

The International Transportation Learning Center’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data has shown that the transportation industry in large will likely see a massive front-line labor shortage in the next ten years unless it is able to find and hire skilled workers. In fact, it is estimated that 126 percent of today’s transit workforce will have to be hired and trained in the next ten years.

In order to help fill this need, the center has produced a Veterans Crosswalk tool (see Excel document below) which matches skill-sets learned during military service with the kinds of skills that public transportation agencies look for when hiring signals maintainers. This product was produced in cooperation with a Veterans Taskforce made up of veterans who are also Subject Matter Experts in the field of Signals Maintenance. This detailed matrix has been distilled down into a user-friendly Veteran’s Factsheet (see PDF below) which provides at-a-glance information for both veterans interested in a signals career and for agencies looking to hire skilled veterans.

The tool is accompanied by a summary report.

International Transportation Learning Center
November 2016

A Guide for the Development of Career Pathways in Transportation

This Guide outlines the steps that transportation industry stakeholders can take to develop or expand Career Pathways to focus on the skills, competencies, and credentials needed for high-demand jobs in the transportation industry and its subsectors.

U.S. Department of Education (OCTAE), Jobs for the Future, International Transportation Learning Center
December 2015

From Operator to Chief – One Employee’s Story

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 DOT
October 2015

Strengthening Skills Training and Career Pathways Across the Transportation Industry


The collection and analysis of employment and skills data highlights the future growth areas and employment “hot spots” in transportation by industry subsectors, occupations, career areas, and geographic areas. It also emphasizes the need for skills training and career pathways across the transportation industry. The report identifies high-demand jobs with good wages, and analyzes the patterns in the education and work experience required for entry, as well as on-the-job training required for new entrants to gain full competency.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
August 2015

TCRP Report 170: Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program—Building for Success

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 170: Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program—Building for Success describes a system of qualification that has been developed for rail vehicle technicians. This qualification system is available for implementation through the Transportation Learning Center.

The program integrates national training standards, progressive classroom curricula and introductory courseware, on-the-job learning modules, an apprenticeship framework that combines well-designed sequences of learning, mentoring to support learners, and coordination of classroom and on-the-job learning. The qualification system also includes written and hands-on certification assessments to confirm that technicians have the practical knowledge and skills required to perform their jobs at the highest level of expertise.

Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) & International Transportation Learning Center
January 2014

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. This report focuses on two local case profiles for transit Career Pathways: 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 (Report 0080)

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

TCRP Research Results Digest 100: 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

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, its 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.


International Transportation Learning Center (with Robert W. Glover, the University of Texas at Austin)
January 2009

Training for Transportation Technicians: Which Delivery Methods Work Best?

This paper explores the question “what is the most effective way to train transportation technicians?” It proposes a blended approach combining classroom time with interactive hands-on demonstrations, followed by structured on-the-job training (OJT) and mentoring.

International Transportation Learning Center

APTA Emerging Leaders Presentation: Recruiting & Retaining Bus Operators

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

American Public Transportation Association