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

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

Higher Education Practices to Prepare Future Transportation Professionals Regarding Disability, Accessibility, and Mobility Management

This NCMM Information Brief, Higher Education Practices to Prepare Future Transportation Professionals Regarding Disability, Accessibility, and Mobility Management provides the results of a NCMM study regarding content in higher education preparation programs and offers recommendations regarding how to integrate disability-related content in preparation programs. The brief also includes recommendations regarding the recruitment and retention of individuals with disabilities into the transportation industry.

Please click the link below to view NCMM’s Mobility Management in Practice Series; this report is one of several 2022 publications listed.

National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM)
April 2022

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

TCRP Research Report 228: Resource Guide for Improving Diversity and Inclusion Programs for the Public Transportation Industry

Examines industry diversity programs, including how inclusion has been incorporated, and what policies, plans, and practices have been successfully implemented.

Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP)
January 2021

TCRP Synthesis 147: Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit

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.

Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP)
January 2020

Attracting and Retaining Women in the Transportation Industry

Examines recruitment and retention strategies and emphasizes importance of community-orientation and mentoring.

Mineta Transportation Institute
February 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

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

Transit Maintenance Mentoring Guidebook

The purpose of this report is to serve as a guidebook, offering information that transit agencies can use to establish mentoring as a training method with guidance, suggestions, and examples to implement or expand upon existing mentoring programs. It is based on a generic mentoring guidebook developed by the USDOT, modified and enhanced to reflect transit maintenance applications.

International Transportation Learning Center
November 2012

Dialogue for Women in Blue-Collar Transportation Careers

Short summary report on unique challenges and recommendations regarding women in blue-collar positions in transportation.

US Dept. of Transportation
September 2011

Moving Forward: Toward Women’s Equity and Inclusion in the Rail and Transit Sector

A toolkit for increasing women’s employment in Traditionally male dominated high-wage, high-skill fields on the railroad and in public transit agencies.

International Transportation Learning Center and Chicago Women in the Trades

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