March 2023

A Note from the Executive Director
Spring has sprung. As the weather gets warmer and the cherry blossoms bloom here in D.C., it’s also an exciting time for the work and projects we are doing at the Transit Workforce Center. 
 
To kick off the year, we have rolled out two important initiatives: the launch of a series of three Stakeholder Engagement Webinars on FTA's Workforce Development Strategic Plan and the pilot sessions of our Battery Electric Bus Familiarization course. These two initiatives continue to expand our mission to hire, train, and retain the frontline workforce for now and in the future. I encourage you to read more about these initiatives in this issue and spread the word. 
 
Enjoy this look back as we gear up for an excellent year. Watch our Making Connections 2022 highlight video, read our “Out and About” section featuring snapshots of great events we’ve attended, and register for our upcoming ATTAIN meeting, focusing on mentoring bus operators. 

Jack Clark
Executive Director, Transit Workforce Center
Operated by the International Transportation Learning Center (ITLC)
Meeting Industry Needs
Stakeholder Engagement Webinars on FTA’s Workforce Development Strategic Plan
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Transit Workforce Center (TWC) will co-host three webinars to gather feedback on FTA’s National Workforce Development Strategic Plan. The webinars will provide an opportunity for participants to learn about and comment on the goals and objectives of the strategic plan. The purpose of this plan is to support, strengthen, and help address the transit industry’s workforce development needs. Currently, the plan has five major goals:

1.     Workforce Safety
2.     Workforce Investment
3.     Recruitment and Retention
4.     Skills Development and Career Advancement
5.     Workforce Metrics

Please register for one of the following three webinars here; additional details on the session format will be sent via email before the webinars. All session times will occur in the Eastern Time zone:
•           Tuesday, April 4, 2:00–3:30 pm
•           Wednesday, April 5, 3:00–4:30 pm
•           Friday, April 7, 1:00–2:30 pm
 
Individuals may also send comments directly to the Transit Workforce Center at twc@transportcenter.org or leave verbal comments at 1-855-888-NTWC (6892). Please note “Strategic Plan Comment” in the subject line of your email and, at the beginning of your phone message, the goal(s) your comment(s) addresses.
BEB Familiarization Course Pilots
TWC launched two pilot sessions of its Battery Electric Bus (BEB) Familiarization course with Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) in February and with Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) in March. Development for this FTA-funded familiarization course started in January 2022 to provide frontline workers and training instructors at public transit agencies with baseline knowledge of BEBs.   

The pilot at LA Metro was coordinated by Program Manager of Technical Training, James Hall, for a mix of subject matter experts, technical trainers, and agency maintenance managers from multiple California counties. James noted, “The input we’ve received on our materials is invaluable in supporting our work to roll out this training course to the transit industry. In addition, having guidance from other subject matter experts and maintenance managers who are navigating the challenges of rolling out a BEB fleet will better curate the content with useful information for those transitioning to a battery-electric fleet.”

Senior Bus Equipment Maintenance Instructor Obed Mejia stated, “This course material is excellent and much needed by the public transit agencies as they transition into electric buses. Training materials such as this ITLC course allow for an easier transition into the deployment of these buses.”
 
WMATA’s Bus Maintenance Instructor Anthony “Tony” Gilmore led instructors in a review of course content, exercises, and assessments. This train-the-trainer session helped build internal capacity so that instructors can be prepared to utilize and deliver the course with additional WMATA-specific instruction and direction as they incorporate BEBs into their fleet. Tony noted that WMATA was glad to be involved in the pilot and the filming, and looks forward to the next stage of revision and implementation. Instructional Designer Brandon Liu and James Hall worked with WMATA on the pilot.   
 
TWC will close out the piloting process with CapMetro in a two-day session in April that will complete feedback collection. The BEB Familiarization course materials will receive final edits before being released for agencies to utilize in preparing their workforce for the transition to battery electric buses. TWC thanks all three agencies for providing pilot opportunities that will help ensure the final course product is of the highest quality for broad agency use.  
WMATA instructors attending a BEB Familiarization course pilot
Find Funding Opportunities for Workforce Development on TWC Website
The TWC Resource Center now includes listings of funding opportunities that public transportation agencies and their partners may be eligible to apply for. With the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the federal government committed to providing funding through various new and existing competitive grant programs that can be used for workforce development and training activities. These funding opportunities and notices from other grant sources are listed and regularly updated on our website. For more information and the view these entries, click here. 
Making Connections 2022 Conference Highlights
Watch highlights from ITLC/TWC’s successful December conference, Making Connections 2022. TWC looks forward to hosting future conferences and to continue developing meaningful experiences for industry stakeholders. 
TWC Out and About:
TWC staff members frequently travel around the country to engage with others at industry events on topics that have included: recruitment, with a focus on TWC’s #ConnectingMyCommunity Toolkit; mentoring and apprenticeship; Zero Emission Bus Technology; the range of TWC services; and more. If you are interested in a TWC session at your event, please get in touch with us at twc@transportcenter.org. Here are some examples of where we’ve been in the past couple of months.  
Transit Retreat 2023  
TWC staff members Jack Clark, David Stephen, and Amri Joyner participated in a national Transit Retreat in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in February. Jack and David facilitated a conversation on workforce retention and mentoring, with attendees sharing the challenges they are facing retaining their frontline workforce. In the “Getting to Know Your Technical Assistance Centers and National Partners” session, Amri discussed services offered by TWC. Attendees enjoyed the TWC sponsored video, Celebrating Our Transit Workforce, highlighting the frontline workers who drive our transit systems. 
NADTC Presentation
On February 8, TWC staff David Stephen, Karitsa Holdzkom, and Shayna Gleason joined the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center for their 2022 Equity and Accessibility Implementation grant recipient meeting. TWC’s presentation focused on strategies for recruitment and retention these grantee organizations could consider in their mission to provide equitable and accessible transportation, while offering employment opportunities to the same riders they serve. Key aspects of the presentation were TWC’s recruitment toolkit, case studies on employing people with disabilities and older adults in the transit workforce, and mentor programs. There was a lively Q&A afterward, and TWC looks forward to staying in touch with the grantees as they complete their projects. 
 David Stephen, Karitsa Holdzkom, and Shayna Gleason
From February 27-March 1, ITLC/TWC’s Senior Communications Specialist David Stephen and Communications Associate Sudan Smith attended APTA’s 2023 Communications & Marketing Workshop in Las Vegas, Nevada. David and Sudan networked with industry leaders and participated in interactive workshops focusing on the various components of public transportation, marketing, and communications. David shared TWC’s resources in the “Transit’s Workforce Challenges” session.
David Stephen
ATU’s President Training  
On Tuesday, March 21, ITLC/TWC’s Executive Director Jack Clark and Communications Associate Sudan Smith attended Amalgamated Transit Union’s President’s Training in Washington D.C. It was an interactive, informative, and collaborative training session oriented around workforce development within the transit industry. Jack presented alongside ATU’s Workforce Development Coordinator, Jamaine Gibson, specifically focusing on TWC resources and programs, like ATTAIN and Zero-Emission Buses. In addition, Sudan shared insights into the important role communications play in distributing information on workforce development to transit agencies, frontline workers, and the public. 
Jack Clark and Jamaine Gibson
ATTAIN Update   
Save the date! On May 3rd at 1:30 pm ET, we will hold the next meeting of the American Transit Training and Apprenticeship Innovators Network (ATTAIN), focusing on bus operator apprenticeship. Join to see why more and more agencies are implementing operator apprenticeship programs and how it could benefit your agency. 
March Is Women’s History Month 
TWC acknowledges women in public transit whose vital contributions have helped move riders all across the country. Fun fact: Writer, poet, and activist Maya Angelou worked as a San Francisco streetcar conductor when she was 16 years old. We celebrate and appreciate her and all women in transit for who you are and all that you do!  
Transit Workforce Center
1-855-888-NTWC