ITLC Update
Transit Workforce Center to Offer Mentor Training at Subsidized Rate
The TWC is pleased to announce that we will be offering partially-subsidized transit frontline mentor training, a program that we have perfected over many years of successful deliveries and improvements.
This one-day intensive workshop is designed for employees or journeyworkers designated as mentors to support on-the-job learning. The content includes a review of mentor roles, an introduction to learning styles, and a facilitated discussion about communication and problem solving. The second half of the workshop includes role playing exercises for the participants to practice what they learned. The instructor leads the participants through a structured review of that experience and review of the mentoring concepts presented. The program acknowledges the wisdom of the mentors and encourages them to view themselves as ambassadors for the training program and advocates for the new employees. For more information on mentoring, please see the next article on our recent webinar.
TWC Holds Webinar on the Fundamentals of Mentoring
On Wednesday, June 22, the TWC held the third webinar in its series on strategic workforce development planning, a session on “Fundamentals of Mentoring”. FTA Associate Administrator Karina Ricks opened the session, describing the TWC’s mission and accomplishments. ITLC Senior Policy Analyst Karitsa Holdzkom moderated the session and introduced the initial speakers: Jamaine Gibson, Director of Apprenticeships and Workforce Development, ATU; Michael Hursh, General Manager, AC Transit (Oakland CA); and Stu Bass, Principal, Progress Worx. All three provided context on how mentoring programs work, the powerful benefits that can result from these programs, and the training needed to ensure mentors have the skills and preparation to do this important work.
Stu Bass then facilitated a panel with current mentors who shared their experiences and perspectives: Dionna McCane, ATU Mentorship and Apprenticeship Coordinator, ATU Local 1070/IndyGo (Indianapolis, IN); Kevin Philpotts, Apprenticeship Coordinator, TWU 234/SEPTA (Philadelphia, PA); and Anton Pierson, Mentor, ATU Local 1005/Metro Transit (Minneapolis, MN). After the presentations and panel discussion, all speakers participated in an engaging Q&A session with attendees. A recording of the webinar and the accompanying slides can be accessed here.
ITLC Welcomes Solomon Grayson
Earlier this month, ITLC welcomed its new Communications and Program Intern, Solomon Grayson. Solomon is a rising junior at Howard University, pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Media, Journalism, Film, and Communications with a minor in Political Science, and hails from Columbus, Ohio.
Solomon has exhibited great interest in transit and communications and brings experience in editing and producing media content, curating podcasts, and a commitment to social justice through activism with several of his campus’s organizations. He is also a member of Howard’s mock trial team.
Solomon will be working in the office and remotely on a part-time basis. Beyond his work in communications for the Center, he will also assist our research staff. The ITLC is excited to have Solomon as part of our team!   
Public Transit
The Guardian – June 24, 2022
“This is a crisis. What frontline workers are experiencing every day around this country is horrific, and it’s not getting better,” said Greg Regan, president of the transportation trades department at the AFL-CIO. “Historically, workers and unions have been excluded from the safety planning process of the agency. So they think that’s insane. They’re the ones who are the eyes and ears on the ground, who can identify vulnerabilities and help point us in the right direction for meaningful solutions.” Regan said the need for action is urgent, and that the FTA needs to respond to every worker assault incident to push for improvements and oversight so it does not recur. He cited an ATU survey where more than 75% of transit workers expressed fear of being assaulted on the job on a daily basis. More than 43% of transit workers are eligible to retire in five to 10 years, as transit agencies around the US are still experiencing labor shortages.
The Washington Post – June 25, 2022
When Jim Mathews joined the Rail Passengers Association eight years ago, his top priority as the group’s leader was pushing for more federal support to expand train service to more places. Last year, after years of advocacy, Congress approved a funding package that allocates $66 billion for rail over five years, offering critical support for Amtrak’s expansion plans. It was, Mathews said, a turning point for America’s passenger rail system. “There’s lots of places and trips where the train just makes sense,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post.
Transit Partners
The Guardian – June 22, 2022
Wu’s personal experiences have made her deeply aware of gaps in civic services. At 22, Wu put her consultancy job in Boston on hold and moved to Illinois to take care of her mother, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her two younger sisters. Barely out of college herself, she became head of the family, moving her loved ones to Boston and enrolling her sibling in the public school system.
Mass Transit – June 24, 2022
“This milestone enables our team to test the tracks and systems, train and familiarize our workforce on yard operations, mainline and stations and ensure that we provide safe and reliable service for customers on the extension,” said WMATA Interim General Manager and CEO Andy Off. “We look forward to opening the new stations soon and delivering high quality rail connections to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County.”
Big County News – June 22, 2022
Sound Transit calls it the “most ambitious transit expansion in the country.” One expansion was approved by voters in 2016. It would connect 16 cities with light rail, provide 30 cities with bus service and 12 cities with commuter rail, according to Sound Transit. With the expansions, the system also hopes to be the first light rail system to run only on clean energy. Sound Transit projects that by 2024 ridership will be back to pre-pandemic levels. It further projects over the next 25 years ridership will increase from just under 20 million in 2020 to 180 million in 2046.
Economic News
Greater Greater Washington – June 22, 2022
If we could completely rely on public transit to move our DC staff around as we do in New York, our transportation costs would plummet. An unlimited MetroCard costs $127 per month in NYC, and we buy them monthly for our staff. As a result, our all-in transportation costs are around $6 per work day, a savings of roughly $34. At scale, this adds up quickly, and it’s why we can charge the same prices in NY as we do in DC despite paying a higher starting wage of $26 per hour there. A middle-range figure for an unlimited WMATA SmarTrip is $144, so the costs are broadly comparable.
Governing – June 24, 2022
Sixty-nine billion dollars for transit was provided between three federal COVID-19 relief laws. But more than two years later, no more help is expected from Washington, D.C. The trouble is that the largest transit services still desperately need assistance. None of the largest cities have seen ridership return to even close to pre-pandemic levels. They are in dire need of new funds to avoid collapse, with gaps too large to be made up for with minor service cuts or fare increases. As federal operational support dries up, three of the six largest transit agencies are facing a so-called “fiscal cliff” next summer. Other agencies will face a reckoning a few years later, if present trends continue.
Safety & Health
Caller Times – June 24, 2022
"I always believe in training, training, training," CCRTA Director of Safety and Security Mike Rendon said. "My passion is to make sure that our employees and customers for RTA are as safe as possible." During the training, Martinez shared data about shootings with attendees and stressed the importance of thinking quickly and strategically during an emergency, noting that deciding whether to run, hide or fight depends on the situation.
AM NY – June 23, 2022
The MTA’s rules of conduct ban firearms and other dangerous instruments like knives and flammable materials from its subways and buses, and the offense carries a $100 fine. However, law enforcement is exempt from the prohibition as are people with a New York State license to carry a gun, which they have to keep concealed, according to the transit rules. The MTA is taking another look at those non-law enforcement licensees being allowed to carry firearms on trains, buses, and in stations, according to agency sources. 
Upcoming Webinars
National Skills Coalition – July 21, 11:00 am ET
Despite the urgent need for workers, many businesses are unable to hire individuals seeking work because applicants lack equitable access to necessary workforce education and training. States play an important role in creating inclusive and equitable workforce systems by ensuring all jobseekers can access high quality training, good jobs, and career pathways. To advance equity, workforce systems should examine institutional structures and barriers to participation that contribute to employment and economic disparities. This panel will share what it takes to understand structural and systemic barriers; intentionally engage community partners; center worker and business voices in shaping policies and programs; and align programs and resources that support the whole person in training for and advancing in a career.
International Transportation Learning Center