FTA to Launch National Transit Workforce Center

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The Transit Workforce Center’s aim, FTA said, is to address the national transit worker shortage and improve transit workforce diversity and equity through workforce development activities “with a strong focus on frontline transit worker skill development,” and the creation of new programs, including apprenticeships. (Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)

The Transit Workforce Center’s aim, FTA said, is to address the national transit worker shortage and improve transit workforce diversity and equity through workforce development activities “with a strong focus on frontline transit worker skill development,” and the creation of new programs, including apprenticeships. (Photo by Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)

The International Transportation Learning Center (ITLC) has been awarded $5 million to establish and run the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) first Transit Workforce Center, which will help agencies nationwide recruit, hire, train and retain employees.

Based in Silver Spring, Md., ITLC will serve as a national technical assistance center and partner with transit agency management and labor organizations, according to FTA. Operations are expected to begin in late fall 2021.

The Transit Workforce Center’s aim, FTA said, is to address the national transit worker shortage and improve diversity and equity through workforce development activities “with a strong focus on frontline transit worker skill development,” and the creation of new programs, including apprenticeships. The Center will also help transit agencies set up workforce development programs on the transition to “new, climate-friendly technologies, such as low and no emission vehicles; electrification of fleets; transit automation; real-time smart systems; and new service models.”

Additionally, the Center will “build on knowledge gained from several rounds of FTA Innovative Transit Workforce Development projects awarded between 2011-2015,” FTA said.

ITLC has “demonstrated success with building strong frontline workforce training programs and career pathway programs, and it also has a long history of working with transit unions and other groups,” FTA reported. “The organization also is experienced in providing training on bus electrification operations and maintenance, which is a growing field, supported both by the FTA’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Program and potentially through an additional investment that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework would make in transit electrification.”

FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez

“Transit workers play a vital role in President Biden’s vision for America,” FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said. “This award to the International Transportation Learning Center will help the nation address the transit worker shortage by providing resources to re-skill and up-skill our workforce and will facilitate the green technology initiatives many transit agencies are undertaking.”

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