Image of cartoon person, dollar sign, and reads

Delta Workforce Grant Program

Administering Agency: Delta Regional Authority

Posted Date: Sep 21, 2023

Closing Date for Applications: Dec 21, 2023

Funding Range: Total funds available:  $10,000,000 — Grant award maximum:  $450,000 — Grant award minimum:  $50,000

Geographic Scope: Regional

Description: DWP supports projects and initiatives that create a more vibrant economic future for the Delta region by expanding job training and re-employment opportunities, aligning workforce and economic development strategies, creating sustainable talent pipelines, establishing or enhancing locally/regionally significant public-private partnerships, and supporting enhanced workforce productivity through investments in innovative programming or services throughout the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions.

Posted October 3, 2023 to TWC’s Resource Center. Please refer to the link below for the most up to date information from the funder.

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

Tools for Building an Equitable Infrastructure Workforce

Department of Labor
September 2023

This toolkit provides guidance on strategies and best practices for recruiting and retaining women in construction, manufacturing, and clean energy jobs. The strategies describe how to make the intentional choice to build a diverse workforce, create targeted recruitment, address barriers of entry, and retain a diverse workforce.


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


National Transit Workforce Development Strategic Plan 2023 to 2028

Federal Transit Administration
August 2023

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) first National Transit Workforce Development six-year Strategic Plan outlines goals and objectives to address workforce challenges and opportunities in the public transportation industry. The plan has six overarching goals: ensuring worker safety and health, investing in workforce development, driving workforce recruitment, ensuring worker retention, developing worker skills, and tracking success through appropriate metrics. FTA’s Transit Workforce Center led the development of this plan collaborating closely with FTA and with stakeholders across transit agencies, unions, national transit associations, the US Department of Labor, and workers. The plan will guide FTA’s activities and investments to support transit agencies as they recruit, retain, and train the diverse workforce they need today and tomorrow.


Opening Doors: Including People with Disabilities in the Transit Workforce

TR News
August 2023

In the transportation industry, individuals with disabilities should comprise part of a diverse workforce and can be included in recruitment and retention initiatives. “Opening Doors: Including People with Disabilities in the Transit Workforce” offers an overview of strategies and is one of the feature articles in the July-August 2023 edition (Issue 346) of TR News, TRB’s magazine.

Authors: Judy Shanley (National Center for Mobility Management), Shayna Gleason (Transit Workforce Center), and Patricia Greenfield (Transit Workforce Center)


Driver Recruitment and Retention Strategies

This blog post from the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center discusses recruitment and retention strategies for transit agencies, particularly in regard to older and disabled workers in the face of industry-wide labor shortages. It includes examples of successful partnerships and effective mentoring programs.

National Aging and Disability Transportation Center
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

Transit-Community Partnerships: Advancing Workforce Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion

In this webinar, hosted by the Transportation Equity Caucus and Transit Workforce Center, panelists with experience in community-based partnerships that embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and access discuss a variety of ways community-based organizations, transit agencies, and unions can engage in creating a strong workforce that fully reflects their communities.

Transportation Equity Caucus
June 2023

Featured Speakers:

  • Beth Berendsen, Policy Director, Chicago Women in Trades
  • Rich Diaz, Bus Operator Mentor Lead, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1575
  • Aaron Koski, Senior Manager – Workforce Development, Metro Transit (MN)
  • Anna Penland, Assistant Transportation Manager – OECC Coordinator, Metro Transit (MN)
  • David Stephen, International Transportation Learning Center/Transit Workforce Center
  • Chris VanEyken, Director, Research and Policy, TransitCenter


Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs: Addition of Oral Fluid Specimen Testing for Drugs

This rule amends the U.S. Department of Transportation’s regulated industry drug testing program to include oral fluid testing. This additional methodology for drug testing will give employers a choice that will help combat employee cheating on urine drug tests and provide a less intrusive means of achieving the safety goals of the program.

Department of Transportation
May 2023

Gender Imbalance in the Transport Sector: A Toolkit for Change

This study builds upon findings from the SuM4All Global Roadmap for Action, which called for the transport sector to address key barriers inhibiting women from accessing decent work in the industry. It delivers a clear overview of the existing employment landscape in transport and recommends and guides positive action for practitioners across the sector. Informed by desk-based research, surveys, interviews, and case studies, the study examines the primary challenges for women entering, remaining in, and progressing in the transport sector worldwide, before presenting a toolkit, which lays out key recommendations for action.

Sustainable Mobility for All
May 2023

Creating Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities in the Transportation Workforce

When transportation professionals are equipped with knowledge and skills about disability topics, they can help create welcoming and engaging employment settings for individuals with disabilities. This new NCMM/TWC learning module offers hiring professionals strategies to recruit and retain individuals with disabilities in the transportation workforce. Learn about partnerships, inclusive hiring, and accommodations to attract and retain employees with disabilities.

National Center for Mobility Management; Transit Workforce Center
May 2023

Workforce Mini-Guides

These six workforce development mini-guides are designed to help develop and implement successful strategies to address the critical workforce shortages seen across the public transportation industry. They cover these topics: advancing awareness of transit careers; creating internships and apprenticeships; recruiting and hiring transit workers; serving the underserved in the workforce; onboarding, training, and retaining workers; and building a transit curriculum.

American Public Transportation Association
April 2023

An October 2022 survey conducted by APTA revealed that 96 percent of transit agencies of all sizes are experiencing workforce challenges, and 84 percent said these shortages are impacting their ability to provide service. APTA developed these mini-guides building on their 2021 Transit Workforce Readiness Guide and combining industry insights and stories, case studies, lessons learned, and best practices.


Bus Operators—New Strategies for Maintaining the Workforce

This webinar discusses the ideas, best practices, and resources that will enable transit agencies to better plan, implement, and assess their operator workforce management programs as described in the Bus Operator Workforce Management: Practitioner’s Guide. Presenters discussed workforce needs assessment, recruitment, selection and on-boarding, training, mentoring, and retention and motivation.

Transit Cooperative Research Program
March 2023

Webinar agenda and presenters

  1. Bus operator training and retention – Xinge Wang, International Transportation Learning Center
  2. Lessons from Florida – Trish Collins, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
  3. Lessons from the Midwest – George F. Fields, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
  4. Question and answer session moderated by Robert Puentes, Eno Center for Transportation


TWC’s Transit Workforce Data Dashboard

Launched in March, 2023, the Transit Workforce Data Dashboard presents quantitative, descriptive data about the composition of the transit workforce and trends in transit employment using a series of charts and graphics. This information is relevant for industry discussions in a range of contexts, including: strategic workforce planning in recruitment, retention, and other areas; examining and addressing opportunities and challenges related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access; and identifying training and funding needs.

Transit Workforce Center
March 2023

Transit Workforce Shortage: Synthesis Report and Toolkit

The Transit Workforce Shortage Study builds a framework for APTA, its members, and its partner organizations to better understand the workforce shortage’s causes and provides best practices for recruiting, hiring, and retaining transit operations workers.

American Public Transportation Association
March 2023

APTA’s Transit Workforce Shortage Study combines information from a survey of public transit workers and interviews with public transportation agencies to provide insight into ways to address the national shortage of transit workers. The report provides information on actions agencies have taken to address the workforce shortage, and the toolkit provides step-by-step answers to workforce shortage scenarios agencies are facing every day.

This report builds on findings from the first interim report.


Workforce Development and Driver Shortages in Small Urban and Rural Transit

This report presents a national survey of small urban and rural transit managers to determine current workforce development practices. The survey results outline driver shortages and related issues, including an aging workforce, disruptions in service, and methods of alleviating the shortage.

Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility
March 2023

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

Making Connections 2022 – Conference Overview and Videos

The Transit Workforce Center hosted Making Connections 2022: The National Transit Workforce Conference in Washington, D.C. on December 13-14, 2022. This conference brought together participants from urban, suburban, rural, and tribal public transportation and industry stakeholders in plenaries, workshops, networking, and ongoing dialogue. Discussions and sessions featured topics including recruitment and retention, training, mentoring and apprenticeships, new technologies, preparing today’s and tomorrow’s workforce, and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.

Transit Workforce Center
December 2022

Session materials from Making Connections 2022 are hosted on the TWC Resource Center. Please click here to view all related materials. A PDF copy of the conference schedule is linked below.

Opening Video: 

Recap Video: 


Making Connections 2022 – Driving Bus Operator Recruitment and Retention: Challenges, Opportunities and Innovation

This session about bus operator recruitment and retention was presented as part of TWC’s Making Connections 2022 transit workforce conference in December, 2022.

Transit Workforce Center
December 2022

Session Summary: A headline issue confronting all transit systems today – how to attract and retain bus operators in a tight labor market. This lively session began with presentations from the TCRP F-28 research team and TransitCenter on their recently published national research findings on recruiting, developing and retaining transit bus operators.  Labor and management industry practitioners from multiple locations then shared their recruitment approaches and strategies that have been most effective on the ground, and TWC staff summarized the National Transit Frontline Worker Recruitment Campaign.

  • Rob Puentes: President and CEO – The Eno Center for Transportation
  • Julia Castillo: Executive Director – Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency
  • James Duff: Assistant Vice President, Human Resources – Dallas Area Rapid Transit
  • Jeff Hazen: Executive Director – Sunset Empire Transportation District
  • Steve Jovel: Transportation Superintendent – Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
  • Robin Phillips: Executive Director – National Rural Transit Assistance Program
  • Harpreet Singh: JWI Director – Amalgamated Transit Union Local 265
  • David Stephen: Senior Communications Specialist – International Transportation Learning Center/Transit Workforce Center
  • Chris Van Eyken: Program Manager – TransitCenter


Making Connections 2022 – Meeting Industry Needs: Feedback Session on FTA’s Draft Strategic Workforce Development Plan

Transit Workforce Center & Federal Transit Administration
December 2022

Feedback collected during this session and in subsequent engagements informed the development of FTA’s National Transit Workforce Development Strategic Plan 2023 to 2028, which has since been released.

  • Mary Leary: Acting Associate Administrator for Research, Demonstration and Innovation – Federal Transit Administration

This handout was shared with participants in a feedback session held during TWC’s Making Connections 2022 transit workforce conference in December, 2022.


Employers can support workers’ economic mobility and their own bottom lines

This article provides a concise description of several strategies employers can use to create clear advancement pathways in their workplaces, which will help attract and retain quality candidates. It discusses research around what modern-day employees are looking for in a workplace and a position. It also links to a related article, which provides an overview of the framework created by Jobs for the Future (JFF) to describe the components of a good job.

November 2022

Building Pathways to Infrastructure Careers: Framework for Preparing an Infrastructure Workforce

This resource provides a framework for all workforce stakeholders, including infrastructure project leads, to engage the public workforce system in implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law with strong workforce commitments and proven strategies that produce high-quality education, training, and employment opportunities for all workers.

U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration
October 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.


Transit Workforce Shortage: Root Causes, Potential Solutions, and the Road Ahead

American Public Transportation Association
October 2022

Public transit providers across North America face a shortage of operators and mechanics during a period of economic instability and reshuffling exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, agencies’ ability to respond to the worker shortage has been hampered by inadequate information about its causes and effects. The Transit Workforce Shortage Study builds a framework for APTA, its members, and its partner organizations to better understand the workforce shortage’s causes and provides best practices for recruiting, hiring, and retaining transit operations workers. The study is comprised of two phases. This document, the Interim Findings Report, synthesizes the findings from Phase 1, which included a survey of transit agencies and background research into the macro causes of the shortage.

This report was followed by a full synthesis report and toolkit.


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

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

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.

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

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. It details the challenges American operators are facing, and offers solutions that transit agencies can take to solve issues locally, as well as steps that state and the federal governments can take to provide agencies with necessary support.

July 2022

This resource also includes a link to a webinar hosted in July, 2022 presenting information from the report and slides from the webinar.

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
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: Recruiting and Developing Today’s Transit Workforce

This is the second in the Transit Workforce Center’s webinar series on strategic workforce development planning in transit. TWC’s first webinar examined workforce development for the incumbent workforce. This second webinar focuses on how transit agencies and partner organizations are working to meet the significant recruitment challenges across the country and how to best turn these challenges into opportunities to reach, attract, and retain a diverse workforce. Two transit agencies and their labor partners discuss their innovative outreach and recruitment programs, including mentoring, pre-apprenticeships, and community college partnerships, followed by a presentation from a national organization leader who has coordinated cross-sectoral recruitment initiatives with agencies across the U.S.

Transit Workforce Center
June 2022

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


Transit Manager’s Toolkit: Driver Recruitment, Training, and Retention

This toolkit from National RTAP introduces both requirements and suggested practices in driver recruiting/hiring, retention/motivation, and training. It includes information about federal requirements, how to create a positive work environment, and training standards.

National Rural Transit Assistance Program
May 2022

Bus Driver Recruitment and Retention in Challenging Times

Transit Workforce Center
April 2022

While the U.S. public transportation industry has long had a significant bus operator shortage, it has been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.  COVID-19 has not only exacerbated existing trends, but also introduced new labor market dynamics.  This brief describes overall workforce trends for bus operators, obstacles to recruitment, and challenges for workforce retention, to help inform efforts to recruit more drivers nationwide.

Overall workforce trends

According to 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, there are 162,850 bus operators nationally.  Federal government projections indicate strong growth for bus operators; BLS estimates the occupation will grow “much faster than average (15 percent or higher).”[1]  To keep up with growth and make up for retirements and turnover, the industry will need to recruit scores of new workers.  BLS reported an annual average of 24,600 projected bus operator job openings for 2020 to 2030.[2]

According to BLS, annual wages for the occupation were $45,900 in 2020, which was higher than the national median of $41,950.[3]  Despite having a reputation for paying relatively well and providing robust benefits,[4], [5]  transit agencies have faced significant challenges to recruit workers in sufficient numbers to meet the growing demand.  The rise of COVID and the omicron variant have created a “labor crisis” in transit, leading Houston Metro to offer bonuses of $4,000 for new drivers, and NYC to try to lure workers out of retirement, for example.[6]

Demographic challenges

One major demographic challenge contributing to the current operator shortage is the disproportionately older bus operator workforce.  As Figure 1 on the next page shows, the median age of U.S. workers was 42.2 years in 2021, and 42.8 years in transportation and warehousing.  For the bus service and urban transit industry, it was 52.7, which is substantially higher than both the nationwide median age for workers and the median age for other subsectors within transportation and warehousing, such as air or rail transportation.[7] The higher median age of urban transit workers is largely attributable to the older age of bus drivers (median 53.3 years)[8], who constitute 60 percent of the workforce[9]. A large percentage of workers are expected to retire in the coming years.[10], [11]

COVID-related health and safety issues

Figure 1. 2021 Median Age of Workers for Selected Transportation Sectors

As frontline workers, bus operators risk exposure to COVID-19, and serious health consequences, even death.  For example, in New York City, 136 MTA operators died around the start of the pandemic.[12]  As of December 2021, more than 2,000 COVID cases have been reported among WMATA workers since the pandemic began; seven of the workers died.  According to CTAA, some member agencies have experienced as many as 40 percent of their operators absent from work due to sickness.[13]  COVID-related factors have resulted in bus operator shortages and service cuts,[14] a trend which has occurred in transit systems nationwide.  In addition, some drivers have quit due to fears about the virus or been terminated due to failure to comply with vaccination and testing policies.[15]

Pre-existing labor market dynamics

The pandemic has also exacerbated existing workforce challenges, such as competition for pay.  Stakeholders interviewed for a GAO study reported that other industries which hire workers with similar levels of education, including fast food, may attract workers instead of transit, especially in rural areas or areas with low unemployment.[16]  When the economy is strong, construction also tends to attract workers who might otherwise work in transit.  Furthermore, some workers leave the transit industry once they have earned their CDL.[17]

CDL and new requirements

Transit bus drivers are generally required to hold Class B Commercial Drivers’ Licenses and passenger (P) endorsements. Due to the high cost of self-funding CDL training, employer-sponsored training programs in which costs are covered, such as those run by transit agencies, are an attractive option for job seekers. However, the potential exists for trainees to pursue employment in commercial driving or another sector after completing a transit-oriented training program.[18]  This dynamic is particularly challenging given concurrent shortages of truck and school bus drivers.[19]

Individuals are required to hold a standard driver’s license to qualify for a commercial learners’ permit, which in turn is needed to pursue CDL training.[20] These requirements may impact recruitment of young people, as rates of driver’s license attainment for 18–24 year-olds have decreased slightly in recent decades and may be lower during recessionary periods and among minority populations and residents of cities.[21]

Regulatory changes impacting entry level driver training (ELDT) may also affect agencies’ ability to fill positions. As of February 7, 2022, the FMCSA has started enforcing universal training standards for entry level driver training and maintaining a database of qualified providers (the Training Provider Registry).[22] Professional organizations representing transit agencies such as APTA and CTAA have expressed concern about these additional regulatory requirements. Agency contacts have also identified challenges related to requirements around license renewal, medical fitness testing, the availability of training during the pandemic and delays with local DMVs processing CDL application due to pandemic staff shortages. FMCSA has granted waivers around certain other CDL requirements during the pandemic, and recently announced a grant to support state capacity for CDL licensing, though the emphasis appears to be on commercial trucking. [23], [24]

Assaults against drivers

Driver safety has been a persistent problem.  Assaults against drivers and altercations with passengers have been well-publicized in communities that transit serves.[25], [26]A 2015 Monthly Labor Review article identified violence as a key challenge facing drivers, with examples including a 2012 attack with rocks in Washington, DC and a 2013 shooting in Seattle.[27] More recently, drivers have reported increased stress during the pandemic and face threats including violence related to passenger non-compliance with mask mandates, among other issues.  Such incidents have deterred potential applicants from considering a transit driving career and contributed to early retirements.[28]

Lack of interest from younger generations

Younger workers have different expectations about the workplace, which has made it challenging for agencies to recruit them.  Younger workers tend to value flexible schedules, yet operators must often work on holidays and weekends, especially when they first start in the field.  New hires in general may not find this attractive.[29]

Advances in technology­­­

Advances in technology present challenges to recruitment and retention.  ­­The rise of automation and apps requires drivers to possess technical knowledge to operate newer buses and assist customers; this means there is a relatively small pool of qualified workers.  Additional and new types of training are needed for both incumbent and new workers to adapt. Furthermore, drivers report feeling stress from being monitored more often by cameras and tracking technology.[30], [31]

Stress and burn-out

Finally, being a bus operator is a highly stressful occupation.  Drivers must operate large vehicles on congested city streets on tight time schedules.[32]  They work relatively long hours with infrequent breaks.[33]  As discussed earlier, technological advances have contributed to worker stress as well.  Operators also experience burn-out due to the stress of dealing with passengers, who may ignore COVID safety rules,[34] or be unruly or violent.


Bus operators have been in short supply for years, and this problem has been magnified by COVID-19.  An aging workforce and labor exits related to COVID have largely contributed to the shortage. Top obstacles to recruitment and retention include pandemic-related health and safety issues, pre-existing labor market dynamics including competition over pay, CDL requirements, assaults against drivers, and lack of interest from younger generations.  Other contributing factors include advances in technology, perceptions of inflexibility, and stress.  To address these workforce recruitment and retention issues for bus operators, key stakeholders from management and labor should keep these data and trends in mind.

Bus Operator Recruitment Campaign

The Transit Workforce Center (TWC) is currently developing a national campaign in coordination with the FTA, along with key labor and industry partners, to effectively address the national bus operator shortage. The TWC is preparing to create a toolkit of materials designed to be adapted by agencies and labor union locals that will consist of templates for commercial scripts, postcard mailers, exhibit banners, talking points for public meetings, social media postings, informational video scripts, and letters of introduction. If any organization has existing models that should be incorporated into these plans, please contact Senior Communications Specialist David Stephen at

Contributing Authors: Benjamin Kreider (Consultant); Xinge Wang; Douglas Nevins

[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2020.  53-3052 Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity.

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics. Table 1.7: Occupational projections, 2020–30, and worker characteristics, 2020.

[3] Summary Report for: 53-3052.00 – Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity.  O*Net Online.

[4] Shared-Use Mobility Center. “Case Study: Managing the Labor Shortage at Transit Agencies.” November 5, 2021.

[5] Laura Bliss. “There’s a Bus Driver Shortage. And No Wonder.” Bloomberg City Lab. June 28, 2018.

[6] Eli Rosenberg.  “Labor shortages are hampering public transportation systems, challenging the recovery of city life.” Washington Post.  December 28, 2021.

[7]Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Table18b: Employed persons by detailed industry and age.

[8] Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table 11b: Employed persons by detailed occupation and age, 2020.

[9] Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Employment Matrix.

[10] Jack Clark.  Testimony before the House Transportation Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways.  March 13, 2019.

[11] Robert Puentes et al. “Practitioner’s Guide to Bus Operator Workforce Management.”  Transportation Research Board of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  November, 2021. Unpublished interim report.

[12] Benito Perez.  “After COVID, who’s driving the bus?”  Transportation For America.  Nov 2, 2021.

[13] Justin George.  “Omicron deepens bus driver shortage, frustrating passengers as transit agencies pare back service.”  Washington Post.  January 15, 2022.

[14]  Justin George.  “Bus operator shortage due to covid prompts Metro to reduce bus service.”  Washington Post. December 23, 2021.

[15] “MARTA Making Temporary Service Modifications to Address Bus Operator Shortage.”  Metro Magazine  November 12, 2021.

[16] US Government Accountability Office. “Transit Workforce Development – Improved Strategic Planning Practices Could Enhance FTA Efforts.” GAO-19-2090. March 2019.  P. 15.

[17] Puentes et al., 2021.

[18] Puentes et al., 2021.  P. 37.

[19] Bliss, 2021.

[20] FMCSA. “Commercial Driver’s License: States.” December, 2019.

[21] Tefft, B. C. & Foss, R. D. “Prevalence and Timing of Driver Licensing Among Young Adults, United States, 2019.” October, 2019. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

[22] FMCSA. “Commercial Driver’s License: Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT). February, 2022.

[23] FMCSA. “Waiver in Response to the COVID-19 National Emergency –For States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders, and Interstate Drivers.” December 15, 2020.

[24] U.S. DOT. “DOT, DOL Announce Expansion of Trucking Apprenticeships, New Truck Driver Boards and Studies to Improve the Working Conditions of Truck Drivers.” January 13, 2022.

[25] Puentes et al., 2021.  P. 36.

[26] Luz Lazo.  “Citing attacks directed at buses, Metro weighs service cuts in Anacostia.” Washington Post.  October 28, 2012.

[27] Bureau of Labor Statistics. “When the wheels on the bus stop going round and round: occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in public transportation.” 2015.

[28] Chris Teale. “Transit workers face growing rate of assaults: ‘There’s not much we can do.’” Smart Cities Dive. February 17, 2021.

[29] Puentes et al., 2021.

[30] Puentes et al., 2021.

[31] GAO, p. 16.

[32] Bliss, 2018.

[33] GAO, 2019; Puentes et al., p. 14.

[34] Justin George.  “Omicron deepens bus driver shortage, frustrating passengers as transit agencies pare back service.”  Washington Post.  January 15, 2022.


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

This National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM) Information Brief provides the results of a NCMM study regarding mobility management, disability, and accessibility content in higher education preparation programs. This brief offers recommendations regarding how to integrate such content, as well as information on the recruitment and retention of individuals with disabilities in the transportation industry.

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

National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM)
April 2022

Statewide Bus Operator Attraction, Hiring, & Retention Research

These slides were used in a presentation outlining research conducted to better understand the shape and scale of the bus operator shortage in Massachusetts public transit and the adjustments agencies are making to confront these challenges.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
April 2022

Workforce Shortages Impacting Public Transportation Recovery

This policy brief summarizes results from a survey the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) conducted with transit agencies in early 2022. The majority of responding agencies reported difficulties with hiring, with bus operator recruitment being the biggest challenge.

American Public Transportation Association
March 2022

The Road to Zero Emission Buses — National Coordinated Effort to Prepare Frontline Technicians

Transit Workforce Center
March 2022

Transitioning from work with the 12- and 24-volts electrical systems in traditional diesel and CNG buses to Zero Emissions Buses (ZEBs), with upwards of 800 volts, requires a significant commitment to additional skills training and development. The Transit Workforce Center is producing critical resources as part of a nationally coordinated effort to help prepare frontline technicians with the training needed to meet the challenges and  demands of this new technology. This document summarizes our ZEB resources.


Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace

These two resources provide insight for employers into what “invisible” or “hidden” disabilities are, how to provide opportunities for employees to voluntarily disclose them, and how to support individuals with such disabilities to be successful in the workplace.

BetterUp; SHRM
February 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

Promoting Interest in Transportation Careers Among Young Women

This research developed and tested a school-based intervention that uses pro-environmental framing and exposure to women transportation role models to help attract more women to transportation careers. The paper explains how this method increased student awareness that the transportation industry can provide green and sustainable careers, particularly for female students.

Mineta Transportation Institute
November 2021

Workforce and Talent Management Study

This study provides an in-depth examination of the U.S workforce development system and offers nine recommendations to inform future policy development and keep the critical infrastructure workforce nimble in the face of change. The recommendations are guided by the principle that all workers must have equitable access to the education, training, and resources necessary to begin and advance in critical infrastructure careers

National Infrastructure Advisory Council
September 2021

The Education/Career Readiness Continuum graphic on page 11 of the report might be useful to agencies considering comprehensive workforce development plans.


Identifying Current and Future Training Needs of the Public Transportation Industry

This report documents a study commissioned by the National Transit Institute (NTI) as part of its work to address training needs. The study investigates skills gaps among the workforce of the U.S. public transportation industry, identifies strategies to address those gaps, and explores approaches to more successfully recruit and retain the full spectrum of the transit workforce, from frontline to technical to professional staff.

Federal Transit Administration; National Transit Institute
June 2021

Inclusive Apprenticeship: A Summary of What We Know about Apprentices with Disabilities

This report summarizes current information on experiences of people with disabilities in apprenticeship, drawing on the research literature, interviews with experts on inclusive apprenticeship, and administrative and survey data. This report’s goal is to synthesize information about inclusive apprenticeship and provide insights about best practices to deepen both researchers’ and practitioners’ understanding.

Urban Institute
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

Here to Stay: Black, Latina, and Afro-Latina Women in Construction Trades Apprenticeships and Employment

This brief discusses the experiences of early career Black, Latina, and Afro Latina women in the trades. The COVID crisis has put a spotlight on the concentration of Black, Latina, and Afro-Latina women in low-wage jobs, including in many essential healthcare and retail jobs. The skilled construction trades have given many women an alternative to the poorly paid jobs in the service sector that many had to turn to before finding the trades. Skilled construction trades provide opportunities to build careers that are both challenging and fulfilling, pay a family sustaining wage with benefits, and can be accessed through ‘learn as you earn’ apprenticeships.

Chicago Women in the Trades; Institute for Women's Policy Research
March 2021

Resource Guide for Improving Diversity and Inclusion Programs for the Public Transportation Industry

This TCRP Research Report 228 examines industry diversity programs, including how inclusion has been incorporated, and what policies, plans, and practices have been successfully implemented.

Transit Cooperative Research Program
January 2021

The report was discussed in a related TRB webinar.
Contributor(s): National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Transportation Research Board; Transit Cooperative Research Program; David Keen; Janine Kyritsis; Ellen Meiser; Mara Rosales


How Women Fare in the Transit Industry

This webinar provides an overview of the barriers and solutions to including more women in the transit industry. Panelists discuss strategies to support women in transit and share examples of transit agencies that have effectively implemented programs to attract, retain, and advance women in the industry.

Transportation Research Board
September 2020

Empowering a Resilient Transit Workforce

This webinar identifies critical labor market benchmarks and addresses ways to cultivate a more resilient and empowered transit workforce, particularly in the post-COVID world. The speakers delve into resiliency challenges and education and training solutions.

Eno Center of Transportation
June 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

Advancing Frontline Workforce Development Meeting: Synthesis

This report synthesizes findings from a two-day gathering of more than two dozen transit industry labor and management representatives who engaged in in-depth discussions on frontline workforce training needs across the U.S. The purpose of the meeting was to identify immediate, short-term, and long-term training needs for the frontline public transportation workforce in the U.S. and ways to connect apprenticeship and formal training programs to support these needs.

National Transit Institute; Federal Transit Administration; International Transportation Learning Center
February 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

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

Attracting and Retaining Women in the Transportation Industry

This study synthesizes previously conducted research and identifies additional research needed to attract, promote, and retain women in the transportation industry, particularly emphasizing the importance of community-orientation and mentoring.

Mineta Transportation Institute
February 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

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

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

International Transportation Learning Center; Chicago Women in the Trades
July 2017

This toolkit is premised on the understanding that transit agencies have little knowledge of and tools for recruiting and assessing new female entrants to the workforce and promoting incumbent workers for skilled trade jobs in rail and transit. It also recognizes that women themselves have little information about the entry routes, requirements and benefits of jobs in these fields and without targeted and concerted effort from either the companies, agencies, unions, workforce development system, and educational institutions, most women will continue to be steered towards traditional female careers.

The resources in this toolkit will support the recruitment, training, and retention of women in nontraditional apprenticeship and jobs in the rail and transit sector. The toolkit can be used by program planners, managers, and frontline staff conducting outreach and assessment and training, to ensure that each stage of the employment process—from recruitment through retention—looks at how the workplace environment can be responsive to women of many backgrounds and how systems can be created or improved to address the barriers women face.


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

Maintenance Technician Staffing Levels for Modern Public Transit Fleets

This report identifies existing tools and practices used to determine optimum maintenance technician staffing levels and provides an analysis of variables that influence maintenance technician staffing needs. A Microsoft Excel maintenance staffing calculator and user guide is available.

Transit Cooperative Research Program
August 2016

Contributor(s): National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Transportation Research BoardTransit Cooperative Research Program; Ken Mall; June Sekera; the Transportation Learning Center and Transit Resource Center


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; Jobs for the Future; International Transportation Learning Center
December 2015

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

Strengthening Skills Training and Career Pathways Across the Transportation Industry

This report identifies high-demand jobs with good wages in transportation, discusses the role data plays in identifying future workforce skill needs, 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; U.S. Department of Transportation
August 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

Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation Industry—A Systems Approach

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 162: Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation Industry—A Systems Approach provides a guidebook that addresses contemporary issues in workforce development, retention, and attraction, and public transportation image management.

The guidebook provides practical tools to transit agencies on a variety of workforce issues including workforce strategies that enhance organizational processes, performance metrics to evaluate the impact of workforce strategies, image management techniques that improve perceptions of the public transportation industry, and benchmarking processes that allow for continuous organizational improvement.

The guidebook is separated into modules that may be used independently or together in the form of the fully integrated guidebook.

Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP)
January 2013

Contributor(s): National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Transportation Research Board; Transit Cooperative Research Program; Candace Blair Cronin; Allison Alexander; Brian Cronin; Christopher Riches; Jennifer Stern; Ream Lazaro; Valerie Lazaro


Dialogue for Women in Blue-Collar Transportation Careers

This short summary report describes unique challenges and recommendations regarding women in blue-collar positions in transportation.

US Department of Transportation
September 2011

Vehicle Operator Recruitment, Retention, and Performance in ADA Complementary Paratransit Operations

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 142: Vehicle Operator Recruitment, Retention, and Performance in ADA Complementary Paratransit Operations provides guidance for understanding the relationships that influence and enhance operator recruitment, retention, and performance in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complementary paratransit services.

Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP)

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


Public Transportation Operating Agencies as Employers of Choice

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 103 documents principles, techniques, and strategies that are used in workforce recruitment, development, and retention. The report includes a companion document, “Communications Strategy and Implementation Plan, Positioning the Public Transportation Operating Agency as an Employer of Choice” that describes strategies and solutions that offer the greatest potential for positioning public transportation operating agencies as an employer of choice.

Contributors: Watson Wyatt Worldwide and Focus Group Corporation

Transit Cooperative Research Program
January 2004

The Workforce Challenge

This report compiles research about the issues facing the transportation workforce, including changing skills, an aging workforce, and low prioritization of training. The report recommends working to expand existing federal and academic resources, create an institutional focus for the issue, and establish human resources management as a strategic function within the transportation community.

Transportation Research Board
January 2003

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
Image of cartoon person, dollar sign, and reads

Notice of Funding Opportunity: Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE)

Administering Agency: Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)

Closing Date for Applications: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis

Funding Range: $73.5M available total

Geographic Scope: Regional

Description: ARISE is an ARC initiative that aims to drive large-scale, regional economic transformation through multistate, collaborative projects across Appalachia.

With the additional funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, ARC launched ARISE to strengthen Appalachian business and industry, and to grow and support the development of new opportunities across multiple states.

Posted January 20, 2023 to TWC Resource Center. Please refer to the link below for the most up to date information from the funder.