June 9, 2011

FTA releases $3M for workforce development

On Thursday, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced it will release $3 million to support programs around the country that train, hire, develop and retain transit workers.

“President Obama promised to help create good jobs for Americans,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This money will help train young people just out of high school or college and help those already in transit jobs move ahead.”

Funding will be provided to programs in New Orleans and Denver that train new entrants to the workforce for jobs in the transit industry; vocational programs in Massachusetts and New Jersey that prepare high school and college students for careers in transit; leadership training programs in California, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio transit agencies; and a distance learning center in South Dakota targeted at rural transit agencies.

Twelve programs from across the nation successfully competed for the "Innovative Workforce Development" dollars. FTA received 35 applications requesting a total of $7.3 million in requests for the $3 million available. A complete list of successful proposals can be found here.

At a Tuesday groundbreaking on New Orleans’ Union Passenger Terminal/Loyola Avenue Streetcar project, Secretary LaHood announced that the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority was among the recipients and will receive a $400,000 Innovative Workforce Development grant to establish a streetcar maintenance training program to assist in hiring and training skilled streetcar maintenance workers.

“With our transit systems growing in ridership and complexity, we must begin recruiting and training the skilled workforce to match the challenges of expansion and innovation,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff.  “We must prepare for retirements and build a knowledgeable workforce that will ensure that our systems are safe, reliable, and desirable long into the future.”

Successful proposals represented a broad portfolio of innovative efforts from training the underemployed in streetcar maintenance and repair to offering college students a certificate in transit management and operations.

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