Keeping the transit jobs pipeline flowing

Posted on January 23, 2014 by Heather Redfern - Also by this author

Jim Barnshaw, a former mechanic, electrician, foreman and rail shop director at SEPTA, speaks to students at Philadelphia’s Mastbaum Vocational High School about jobs at the agency.
Jim Barnshaw, a former mechanic, electrician, foreman and rail shop director at SEPTA, speaks to students at Philadelphia’s Mastbaum Vocational High School about jobs at the agency.

Jobs in the transportation industry can be highly specialized, requiring employees to have very specific training and numerous certifications. How can transit organizations ensure that the workers they are hiring are well-prepared for open positions? Why not partner with technical schools to collaborate on curriculum and create a pipeline of qualified job candidates?

For years, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has collaborated with adult education institutions in the agency’s service area to help produce graduates that are not only ready to join the workforce in entry level positions, but are prepared for long, successful careers in their fields of choice. From campus recruitment visits to pre-employment testing and mentoring, SEPTA's aggressive education outreach efforts are designed to make it an "employer of choice" for qualified students.

RELATED: "Workforce Development: Who Will Run Transit Tomorrow?"

A key aspect of SEPTA's recruitment initiatives is curriculum review.

"We share students' pre-employment test results with schools so that the instructors can make adjustments to their coursework that will better prepare students," said Dan Dandrea, SEPTA's manager of recruitment. "We are also constantly reviewing curricula for new schools and programs to determine if coursework is relevant to our hiring needs."

Currently, SEPTA representatives serve on the curriculum advisory boards of eight adult education institutions.

SEPTA's efforts have been a success. “Our representation on the curriculum advisory boards has produced changes to the coursework at many of the schools, making the students’ skill sets more relevant for SEPTA’s entry level technical positions,” said Dandrea. “This has resulted in a significant benefit to our workforce, as in the past two years almost 90 technical school graduates have joined the authority as third class bus mechanics, signal trainees and power department trainees.”

The positive results are due to the commitment of SEPTA employee Jim Barnshaw. A former mechanic, electrician, foreman and rail shop director, Barnshaw works with approximately 50 trade schools, coordinating training and education programs that help “steer” students toward their goals of careers in mechanical fields.

“Jim’s experience in our shops has been invaluable to our recruitment endeavors,” said Dandrea. “He understands the expertise our employees need, not only to obtain jobs, but also to advance in their positions at SEPTA.” Barnshaw’s work has earned him industry recognition.

In addition to prepping post-secondary students, SEPTA has an internship program for Philadelphia high school students who are enrolled in mechanical or electrical programs.

“Each summer, we hire 10 to 15 students to work with our rail and bus mechanics and electricians,” said Dandrea. “By mentoring and training students before they graduate from high school, we are putting them on track for long-term career success, hopefully at SEPTA.”


Looking for a job in transit or interested in posting a job, visit METRO's Transit Job Finder.

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "How safety programs can help transit meet budget challenges"

View comments or post a comment on this story. (1 Comment)

More Transit Dispatches Blog Posts

February 1, 2017

Overcoming obstacles in mobility on-demand public-private agreements

The recent rise of “mobility on demand” services like Uber and Zipcar has shifted society’s understanding of transportation systems and how they operate. Governments, advocates, and communities are responding by experimenting with their relationships to these services to ensure that on-demand options work with transportation networks to benefit public mobility.

January 19, 2017

D.C. event shares perspectives on today's (and tomorrow's) mobility challenges

With the transportation landscape evolving quickly in recent years — new mobility options and growing support for transit and bicycling — decision-makers face greater opportunity and unpredictability in how they can utilize and react to such options.

December 28, 2016

Why 'Tactical Transit' is the Next Big Thing

The raffish, worldwide movement known as tactical urbanism appears poised to take on a meatier role in improving transit in bus corridors. By providing low-cost, agile alternatives to lengthy street improvement processes, “tactical transit” has the ability to jumpstart virtuous cycles of increasing bus ridership by speeding up travel times, improving passenger experience, and enhancing overall perceptions of riding the bus.

December 14, 2016

SEPTA's Supervisor Training Program Helps Employees Move Up the Ladder

The AIM AD programs was designed by SEPTA to expand the pool of supervisors who are ready to move into assistant director positions in the agency's operations and engineering, maintenance, and construction divisions.

November 9, 2016

How an Innovative Plan Helped a Veteran Find Work Building Railcars

It is the early 2000s, and as the sun rises over Southern California, most people are still fast asleep. Kristian Mendoza, however, is up and getting ready for work. He doesn’t have to be in until eight, but his commute can sometimes take up to an hour-and-a-half each way. This job pays so little that he can barely afford the gas to commute to it, let alone provide the time and care he would like for his two young children.

See More

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (1)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close