The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded a cooperative agreement totaling $5 million to the International Transportation Learning Center (ITLC) to support the first Transit Workforce Center (TWC). Based in Silver Spring, Md., ITLC will serve as FTA’s first ever national technical assistance center to help transit agencies recruit, hire, train, and retain a diverse workforce needed now and in the future.
“This first Transit Workforce Center will invest in our transit employees, connect our people to good-paying jobs, and help our country tackle the climate crisis,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
FTA established the TWC to conduct workforce development technical assistance activities for transit agencies with a strong focus on frontline transit worker skill development. The International Transportation Learning Center will forge collaborative partnerships between transit agency management and labor organizations, and create new programs including apprenticeships. The TWC will help address the national transit worker shortage and improve diversity and equity in the transit industry workforce.
“Transit workers play a vital role in President Biden’s vision for America,” said FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez. “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.”
The TWC also will help transit agencies develop workforce development programs as they 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.
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. 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.
The TWC will build on knowledge gained from several rounds of FTA Innovative Transit Workforce Development projects awarded between 2011-2015.