NEWSLETTER: Transit Workforce Pulse – March 2022
|Director’s Notes |
Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Transit Workforce Pulse, the Transit Workforce Center (TWC) e-newsletter. We are excited to share the great work that we have begun as FTA’s first national technical assistance center for transit workforce development. In this newsletter, you will read about some of our accomplishments include our recently released “Resources and Best Practices for Workforce Transition to Zero-Emission Buses”. You will also find out how you can be a part of peer exchanges around training and apprenticeship for in-demand frontline transit occupations, such as bus operation and bus maintenance. In the months ahead, follow us on our new social media accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and check out our new website Transit Workforce Center for our new initiatives in transit workforce development. Since September 2021, the TWC has provided targeted technical assistance, resources and information, and support to hundreds of transit agencies, unions, and transit partners across the country. I encourage you to check out the work we have done and see how we can assist you, whether it is through joining our committees, taking advantage of our resources, or speaking with our team about the workforce challenges you are facing. You can also contact our team here.
To contact the TWC you may visit our website at www.TransitWorkforce.org or for Technical Assistance Requests call 1-855-888-NTWC or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transit Workforce Center
Operated by the International Transportation Learning Center (ITLC)
General Technical Assistance and Outreach
Through its Technical Assistance (TA) helpdesk, staff have responded to and resolved TA requests from over 120 transit agencies and other transit partners.The assistance provided spans agencies across the entire country, covering every one of the FTA’s ten regions.In addition to service to individual agencies, the TWC has provided information about its own operations as well as substantive technical advice to large groups through presentations to hundreds of transit agencies, unions, and other organizational participants at major meetings, such as APTA, CTAA, CTA, and ATU, with many more scheduled in the coming months.
Technical Assistance by Transit Mode
Since launching last Fall, the TWC has started several new initiatives here’s a rundown of our work
ATTAIN: The TWC launched the American Transit Training and Apprenticeship Innovators Network (ATTAIN) during the 2021 National Apprenticeship Week. This program promotes transit apprenticeship, frontline worker training, mentorship, peer exchanges, and other methods of support to provide technical assistance for the frontline workforce. ATTAIN’s peer network is open to transit agencies and their union and workforce partners interested in exploring or starting apprenticeship programs, as well as locations with established programs. Membership in ATTAIN also provides our partners with continuing support from the TWC and the opportunity to learn from one another, receive regular communications from the TWC, and participate in periodic virtual and in-person meetings. So far, 109 agencies have signed up to participate. ATTAIN currently has committees in Bus Operations and Bus Maintenance. To be a part of these committees, or our soon-to-be-launched Railcar, Signals, and Traction Power and our Facilities and Elevator/Escalator Maintenance committees, visit us here: https://tinyurl.com/ycy25rn7
SOCIAL MEDIA: The TWC has established a social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter focused on amplifying our key developments and sharing helpful information for transit agencies and partners.
ATTAIN COMMITTEE MEETINGS: Committee meeting for Bus Operations, held virtually on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
Committee Meeting for Bus Maintenance, was held virtually on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. Participating agencies and unions come together to learn from each other and discuss challenges, best practices, and implementation ideas.
ZEB TRANSITION RESOURCES: In conjunction with the Low or No Emission and Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Competitive Programs FY22 Notice of Funding announcement, the TWC released Resources and Best Practices for workforce transition to Zero Emission Buses. The resources and best practices examine and address unique workforce needs while providing agencies with the building blocks to develop and implement strategic workforce development plans. They also give a head start to agencies operating with joint labor-management partnerships, such as registered apprenticeships. Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, transit agencies using the expanded Low-No Grants to purchase zero emission buses or bus equipment must submit a plan for implementing a transition to a ZEB fleet. The TWC resources and best practices go step-by-step through the FTA question template, providing general approaches, key considerations, best practices, and helpful resources for agencies’ development of workforce transition plans, optimizing the potential for success. To learn more about the grants visit: https://www.transit.dot.gov/lowno To read the TWC Resources and Best Practices for a Zero Emission-Workforce Fleet Transition Plan visit: https://www.transportcenter.org/zeb
TWC Supports Missouri Transit Partners’ Workforce Pipeline Initiative
In addition to responding to specific requests for technical assistance, the TWC offers wide-ranging support for transit agencies, associations, and partners. As Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA) Executive Director Kim Cella notes, working with the TWC “has taken our dialogue to a new and significant level, helping us to explore various ways to develop a career pipeline system that can support the transit workforce statewide.” The TWC’s collaboration with MPTA began when Ms. Cella invited TWC staff to discuss key aspects of the work and the services we offer, after learning about the TWC from FTA’s Region VII Deputy Regional Administrator Mark Bechtel. The TWC facilitated a discussion with MPTA and a state-wide group of transit agencies, focusing on Issues related to bus operator recruitment, retention, and transit operator apprentice programs, mentoring, and partnerships. Following up on an expressed interest in community college partnership, the TWC organized a session with MPTA, Missouri transit agencies, and community college representatives, so they could learn about a model program partnership between Valley Transit Authority (VTA), Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 265, and Mission College in Santa Clara, California. Rob Gamble, Director of Workforce and Economic Development at Mission College, and Jamaine Gibson, Director of Apprenticeships and Workforce Development for the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) International, explained the creation and impact of the program and answered questions from discussion participants. Collaboration between the MPTA and the TWC will continue, with the TWC running a workshop and a plenary discussion at MPTA’s 2022 Annual Conference in September in Springfield, Missouri. Executive Director Cella notes that the conference is open to all and encourages anyone interested to attend and explore the issues of recruitment, retention, and apprenticeship more in September. Any industry stakeholder interested in learning more about the VTA-ATU Local 265-Mission College partnership and other transit-community college partnerships and models can contact Pat Greenfield at email@example.com.
JOINT LABOR-MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE TO DEFINE STANDARDS FOR TRAINING: In partnership with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and transit labor, the TWC is convening a joint labor-management committee to define training standards for Zero Emission Bus maintenance. As a federally-recognized standards-setting organization, APTA regularly establishes industry-recognized standards. In the case of standards for training, the practice of convening joint labor-management committees is well-established. The TWC will help convene this committee and provide much of the staff work to arrive at detailed training standards down to the task level. Once adopted, the training standards will provide a valuable tool in helping agencies and local unions build training programs that ensure that maintenance workers are fully qualified to perform all needed maintenance on the bus and to do so safely.
BUS OPERATOR RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN: The 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
WEBSITE: Next month, the TWC will launch its website, The website will include a resource center that will effectively support transit workforce development work across the country with tools, training materials, research publications, and other helpful resources.