Sept. 07, 2023

MDOT & MTA Hosts Battery Electric Bus Familiarization Pilot 

ITLC’s James Hall and Brandon Liu, joined by instructor and long-time ITLC subject matter expert Frank Burnett, traveled to Baltimore in August to observe the delivery of a Battery Electric Bus (BEB) Familiarization Course pilot at the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Kirk Maintenance Facility. Five participants were in attendance, consisting of a mixture of A-repairmen instructors from the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1300, the bus maintenance training liaison, and a zero-emission consultant from Omni Strategy LLC. The course, developed through ITLC’s Transit Workforce Center (TWC), covered the recommended two-day course period, with a mix of classroom delivery, at-bus exercises, and demonstrations. This pilot session aimed at finalizing a course review so that agencies across the country can access and use it to support workforce transition to BEBs. TWC thanks MDOT and MTA along with all the other agencies involved that have provided the opportunity to test and fine-tune this course. 

Instructor Laszlo Juhasz examining the charge port with the group

ITLC Attends IndyGo’s Coach Operator Graduation  

On August 25, ITLC’s Annmarie Carmody, Sudan Smith, and Maurice Beard attended the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation’s (IndyGo) Coach Operator Graduation, the first in-person graduation at its new East Campus facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. IndyGo and Amalgamated Transit Union’s (ATU) Local 1070 celebrated the commencement of 24 coach operator graduates from four different classes. Families, friends, mentors, and training instructors attended to support and witness these new operators being acknowledged by leadership, as the individuals from each class were called upon to receive certificates of achievement, along with select academic achievement awards. As a part of IndyGo’s mentor program, all new operators were assigned a mentor to help them navigate their first year. During the ceremony, IndyGo’s Training Director Tim Cox expressed his appreciation for the new coach operators and spoke about how he looks forward to seeing them advance in their careers. After the ceremony, ITLC staff had the opportunity to tour the new facility and interview selected mentors and mentees who shared insight into their careers in transit. 

IndyGo's graduating class of coach operators

IndyGo's new coach operators and mentors, along with ATU Mentorship and Apprenticeship Coordinator Dionna McCane

FTA's 2023 Biennial State and Tribal Programs and Transit Partnerships Conference

Last month, ITLC Deputy Director Xinge Wang participated in the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) 2023 Biennial State and Tribal Programs and Transit Partnerships Conference in Washington, D.C., a conference designed to create dialogue and opportunities to hear from tribal and rural communities on how FTA and technical assistance centers can better serve their needs. Her first presentation on the projects and services carried out by the Transit Workforce Center was part of an FTA technical assistance centers’ session, and her second talk was on ZEB workforce transition training. Additional ITLC staff attended and engaged with state and community representatives in sessions on securing funding and developing equitable and efficient transportation through workforce development and infrastructure opportunities. 

ITLC Deputy Director Xinge Wang presenting in a session featuring the FTA technical assistance centers at the 2023 FTA State and Tribal Programs and Transit Partnerships Conference

ITLC Presents at SWTA’s Summer University Conference Series 

ITLC’s James Hall and Maurice Beard traveled to Wichita, Kansas on August 11 to lead a South West Transit Association (SWTA) summer university course with co-presenter from Immersed Technologies, Inc., President and Technical Director Mike Brock. The course on electrical fundamentals and high voltage safety maintenance was a two-day event focused on introductory familiarization-level zero emission bus training for maintenance staff in the region. Technicians learned about the proper use of digital multimeters, assessing high voltage risks and hazards, and how to protect themselves when working on the equipment. The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) also delivered an introduction to the design of their buses, safety equipment, the general theory of operation, and high-level maintenance procedures, building on the ITLC/TWC-Immersed Technologies presentation. Commenting on the safety aspects of the training, ITLC Program Manager James Hall observed that “combining high-quality training and the implementation of bus design features that reduce the complexity of a high-voltage system inherently leads to safer working conditions for maintenance personnel.”

ITLC Attends WMATA's Bus Operator Graduation

On August 11, ITLC/TWC staff attended the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Bus Services Combined Graduation at WMATA’s new headquarters in Washington D.C. The ceremony honored six bus operator mentors, who are the first graduates of WMATA’s pilot mentorship program run by the Amalgamated Transit Union's (ATU) Local 689. The ceremony also celebrated the commencement of WMATA’s new bus operators and the promotion of a bus superintendent, bus operator managers, and bus trainers/ safety instructors. The ceremony’s many speakers expressed their excitement and support to the graduates, including WMATA’s Senior Vice President of Bus Services Leroy Jones, Chief Operating Officer Bryan Dwyer, and General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke, who provided a video congratulating the class on their achievements. The graduates recited the WMATA operator pledge and accepted their certificates while their loved ones and colleagues cheered them on. At the end of the ceremony, ITLC staff had the opportunity to interview the graduates as they talked about their journey working in transportation and the value of mentorship. 

View the full recording of WMATA’s Bus Services Combined Graduation

WMATA's graduating class of bus operators

WMATA's first graduating class of mentors

Rail Car Training Consortium Holds In-Person Meeting in Portland, OR

ITLC’s National Rail Car Consortium held its annual in-person meeting in Portland, Oregon, on August 8-11. The meeting was hosted by TriMet and ATU 757 and staffed by ITLC team members Kristen Ribaudo, Arnett Powell, Grant Young, and Maurice Beard. General Manager of TriMEt, Sam Desue, provided welcome remarks to the group on Tuesday morning along with Shirley Block, ATU 757 President, and Dan Blair, Executive Director of Maintenance Operations at TriMet. With representation from twelve of fifteen rail car member agencies, there were 23 labor and management subject matter experts (SMEs) in attendance, comprised of rail car maintenance trainers and frontline workers from Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA), Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA), Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), Sacramento Regional Transit (SacRT), San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (SD MTS), TriMet, Santa Clara Valley Transportation (VTA), Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), and Sound Transit. SMEs had the opportunity to network and share the common challenges and issues they face with peers in similar situations. SMEs developed six hands-on learning wiring schematics scenarios, reviewed and edited an eLearning refresher module on Propulsion, and voted on the priority of work for 2024, including a wire maintenance course and a new foundational skills program. They also mapped out essential skills and competencies for basic mechanical, electrical, technical writing, and computer skills courses. 


For information on how to join the Rail Car Consortium, please contact Kristen Ribaudo

ITLC's Rail Car Consortium visiting TriMet's Ruby Junction Rail Facility

Team Including ITLC Wins Competitive Grant to Fund Transit Operator and Rider Safety Research 

On August 9th, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the selection of the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida (USF), with the Mineta Transit Institute at San Jose State University and ITLC, as recipients of a competitive research grant to fund the study of transit operator and passenger safety risks and mitigation strategies. This project will be the first phase of FTA’s Transit Worker and Rider Safety Best Practices initiative. Through engagement with transit stakeholders, including frontline workers, the research team will collect data and examples of best practices to be featured in a final report. ITLC is excited to work with partners at CUTR and Mineta on this crucial research.   

Does Your Agency Offer Childcare Benefits? 

TWC would like to hear from you if your agency offers supportive services including onsite or offsite childcare or a childcare benefit, as we gather information and examples helpful for recruiting, retaining, and supporting frontline workers in transit. 

If you have a promising approach you'd like to share, please contact David Stephen. 

Upcoming Meetings

ATTAIN Rail and Facilities Apprenticeship Meeting – Sept. 12

Join TWC’sAmerican Transit Training and Apprenticeship Innovators Network (ATTAIN) virtually on September 12 at 1:30 pm ET to discuss apprenticeships for rail and facilities occupations. Hear short presentations and interact with transit peers nationwide about how their training programs are developed and work. Members of ATTAIN and those interested in exploring and strengthening training programs for rail or facilities occupations are welcome to attend. Register for next month’s ATTAIN meeting using the link below. 

For more information, contact Karitsa Holdzkom

Register here!

Traction Power Consortium Meeting – Sept. 18 - 22 

This event is the third in a series of meetings where traction power subject matter experts continue their work with ITLC instructional designers to develop training for new and experienced traction power technicians. The group has already completed and revised several courses that train traction power workers to maintain and troubleshoot power distribution, substation, overhead, third rail, and control systems. 

ITLC thanks Metro Transit for hosting the meetings at its Green Line Training Facility in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Register for the special group rate at the Hyatt Place St. Paul/Downtown Hotel. The consortium welcomes everyone interested in traction power maintenance training members or non-members to join this event. 

For more information, please contact Amri Joyner

Register here!

Signals Consortium Meeting – Oct. 24 - 27 

ITLC is excited to announce the Signals Maintenance Consortium annual meeting in-person in Dallas, Texas, on October 24-27. To date, the consortium has completed the development of forty signals technician training courses, over one hundred on-the-job training checklists, a comprehensive signals equipment inventory at each consortium member location, and more than ten eLearning modules. ITLC thanks Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) for hosting this meeting. Please register for this meeting by September 18, 2023

For more information, please contact Julie Deibel-Pundt

Register here!

Federal News

Federal Transit Administration National Transit Workforce Development Strategic Plan 2023 to 2028 (Report 0251)

Federal Transit Administration – Aug. 17, 2023

FTA Delivers $104 Million Grant to Convert Metro’s Cinder Bed Bus Garage to Exclusively Serve Electric Buses

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority – Aug. 30, 2023

Secretary Buttigieg Appoints Members of the Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity (ACTE)

U.S. Department of Transportation - Aug. 17, 2023

Department of Labor Launches Apprentice Trailblazer Initiative to Promote, Expand Registered Apprenticeships, Increase Youth Employment 

U.S. Department of Labor - Aug. 16, 2023

Transit Partners

CTA Hires First-Ever Chief Equity and Engagement Officer

Chicago Transit Authority – Aug. 29, 2023

MBTA Sees Bump in Bus Driver Applications Following New Contract – Aug. 14, 2023 

CATS Receives $30 Million Federal Grant for Sustainable Fleet Updates 

Mass Transit – Aug. 7, 2023 

International Transportation Learning Center


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