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Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Program (Ladders of Opportunity Initiative) Project Selections

Project Name Project Sponsor Project Partners Project Description Federal Funding

Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology Training – Transportation Pathway for Academic Career and Transfer Success (T-PACTS)

Los Angeles,

Los Angeles Trade-Technical College LACMTA, the local ATU, and several workforce organizations Los Angeles Trade-Technical Community College (LATTC) will receive funding to establish the Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology Training – the first program of its kind in a community college in the country. Partnering with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA, or LA Metro), local unions, and several workforce organizations, the Transportation Pathway for Academic Career and Transfer Success (T-PACTS) program will build pathways to long-term careers in the public transportation industry. Goals of the program include high-quality, innovative pre-employment training and the development of an apprenticeship program specific to the LA area's burgeoning rail system. $750,000

Name: Moving Employees into Transit Related Opportunities (METRO)

Los Angeles, CA

Community Career Development, Inc. LACMTA, LA Valley College, the Workforce Investment Boards of LA City and LA County, and Workforce Departments of LA and Ventura counties Description: Community Career Development, Inc., (CCD) will receive funding for the Moving Employees into Transit Related Opportunities (METRO) program. This program will recruit low-income individuals, including underserved groups such as women, veterans, and minorities, from communities throughout Metropolitan Los Angeles that have suffered from a lack of employment opportunities. By working with local partners such as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA, or LA Metro), CCD will use its proven methods to recruit and train transit professionals in an area where transit skills are in high demand. $331,313

Discover Opportunities - In Transit! (DO IT!)

Santa Clara County, CA

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Mineta Transportation Institute, San Jose Job Corps, Foothill Community College, and Independence High School The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will receive funding for the Discover Opportunities - In Transit! (DO IT!) program. The program will recruit low-income and minority youth in the Santa Clara Valley to receive training in transportation planning, putting them on the path to a high-skill profession in high demand in the Bay Area. Partnerships with Job Corps, Foothill College, and Independence High School will help provide training and classroom instruction, while VTA will offer staff mentors and paid internships to give students the best chance of success. $200,000

Transit Career Ladders Training (TCLT)

San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Local workforce boards and community colleges The Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) will receive funding to establish the Transit Career Ladders Training (TCLT) Program. This program will create direct and accessible pathways to employment in the transit industry by partnering with Workforce Investment Boards and community colleges in the Bay Area. As encouraged by USDOT's Ladders of Opportunity Initiative, the TCLT program will promote transportation careers in low-income areas, in unemployed and underemployed communities, and among minorities, veterans, and women. TCLT will also support and enhance existing technical programs at local colleges through real-world interaction with the transit system. $750,000

Workforce Investment Now! (WIN)

Denver, CO

Regional Transportation District (RTD) Five strategic partners ranging from the State of Colorado's Workforce Investment Board to the Metro Denver chapter of the National Urban League The Regional Transportation District (RTD) will receive funding to expand its highly-successful Workforce Investment Now! (WIN) initiative. Drawing on a network of 54 local partners, WIN successfully capitalizes on investments in public transportation infrastructure to generate high-quality employment and training opportunities for Denver-area residents. WIN 2.0, as the expansion is known, will continue to train and place participants from underserved communities on large construction projects, while adding a new program for participants to be trained to work directly in operations and maintenance on completed transit systems. As RTD approaches completion of several major transit projects, jobs in operations and maintenance are expected to be in high demand in the near future. WIN services emphasize long-term career skills development and advancement, creating ladders of opportunity for low-income workers. $663,256


Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) 10 Strategic Partners (Duval County Public Schools, Jacksonville Job Corps, HUD, and more) The Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) will receive funding to create the Back-2-Work Program, an initiative to encourage job training and small business development in the Jacksonville area. By working with strategic partners including the Florida Small Business Development Center, Jacksonville Job Corps and Duval County Public Schools, this innovative program will help workers and small business owners from minority communities provide their services to the transit industry. As JTA plans over $100 million in transit construction over the next five years, there is abundant opportunity for historically underserved groups to connect to the economic growth and development that transit projects bring. $200,000

Second Chance

Chicago, IL

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) 12 local social service agencies The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will receive funding to expand its innovative Second Chance program. Second Chance offers Chicagoans in difficult circumstances a path to economic stability through training programs in fields such as maintenance, operations, and customer service. Throughout the 12-month training program, participants are also cross-trained in software and other skills needed to thrive in the transit workforce of the future. Partnerships with local social services agencies ensure that enrollees receive the support they need on the way to self-sufficiency. CTA plans to expand the program to include more specialized fields that will be in high demand in coming years. $750,000

Massachusetts Construction Career Development

Statewide, MA

Mass DOT Five strategic partnerships with local community organizations concerned with youth and minority services The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (Mass DOT) will receive funding for the Massachusetts Construction Career Development (MCCD) Program. The program will improve existing and successful pre-apprenticeship programs in the construction trades, focusing on under-represented groups such as women and minorities. Partnering with five community organizations throughout the state, MCCD will develop and sustain a cadre of skilled, licensed workers who will be able to immediately contribute to transit projects and the construction industry in general. In addition, Mass DOT will be able to leverage the unique skills and training offered by the five partner groups for the benefit of all participants. $750,000

Integrating Career Pathways in Public Transportation: Rail Car Maintenance and Beyond

Silver Spring, MD

International Transportation Learning Center APTA, CTAA, ATU, Job Corps, The Corps Network, and some of the country's largest transit agencies (WMATA, MBTA, SEPTA, Metra, Muni, NJT, MTA) The International Transportation Learning Center (ILTC) will receive funding to integrate two of their existing projects relating to career training in rail car maintenance. Building on the Transit Core Competencies Curriculum that prepares participants with the skills needed to start a career in transit, the ILTC will add higher levels of technical training in the Rail Car Training Consortium. As transit agencies across the country are making major investments in rail infrastructure, the skills to keep rail cars in a state of good repair are expected to be in high demand. Through strategic partnerships with transit workers' unions and large transit agencies, among others, this program will ensure that participants receive high-quality instruction that is directly related to current and future careers in transit. Recruitment efforts will focus on underserved communities, creating Ladders of Opportunity. $750,000

Signaling Career Pathways: Putting Veterans and Women on Track and Advancing Signals Technicians

Silver Spring, MD

International Transportation Learning Center Unions, Amtrak, and a vast array of transit properties of all sizes The International Transportation Learning Center (ILTC) will receive funding for its Signaling Career Pathways program. This project will focus its recruitment efforts on women and veterans, addressing public transportation's need for highly-skilled signals technicians by providing a quality training system for these underrepresented groups. To help transition veterans into the transit industry, ILTC will create a Veterans Task Force to develop a Military-Public Transportation Skills Crosswalk, identifying how military occupational skills can be applied to signals technician position. Working with the existing Signals Consortium, courses will be developed and piloted at a minimum of five partner locations, producing a toolkit that agencies nationwide can draw upon in their own training and recruitment efforts. $574,182

Mass Transit Technician Program

Twin Cities, MN

Metropolitan Council / Metro Transit Community-based workforce organizations, education entities (e.g. St. Paul College) Metro Transit will receive funding to establish the Mass Transit Technician (MTT) program. The program will develop a cohort of transit vehicle mechanics and technicians who can help meet the current shortage of skilled workers in the Twin Cities. Partnering with the community group Twin Cities Rise!, MTT will focus its recruitment on the low-income, underemployed, and other disadvantaged groups, and provide complementary social services as needed to help ensure participant success. Further, successful participants will be assisted in earning a two-year technical degree from St. Paul College, with strong potential for paid internships and, eventually, permanent positions with Metro Transit. $203,210

Workforce Development Training Program

Hudson County (Jersey City), NJ

Jersey City Employment Training Program, Inc. (JCETP) Local city and county governments, transit and port authorities, workforce boards, and the Department of Corrections. The Jersey City Employment Training Program, Inc. (JCETP) will receive funding for the Workforce Development Training Program, which will provide educational training for various apprenticeship programs to Jersey City residents. Unique among programs of its kind, this project will focus on the prisoner re-entry population, a group which has historically struggled to find gainful employment. With several massive ongoing transportation and infrastructure projects in the region, there is strong demand for a skilled transportation workforce. By working with the social services provider Jersey City One Stop, JCETP will ensure that participants will earn both relevant general accreditations (such as a GED) and access to transit-specific jobs, internships, and training through local unions and workforce board. This program aims to serve as a replicable model for re-entry programs nationwide. $604,896

Workforce Investment Now - New York (WIN - NY)

New York City, NY

NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Transportation Diversity Council The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will receive funding to establish the Workforce Investment Now - New York (WIN - NY) program. The program lead, the Transportation Diversity Council (TDC), will launch an innovative multi-sector partnership that will focus on preparing high school students at the Bronx Design and Construction Academy for careers in transportation, design, and construction. Modeled on the successful Denver WIN program, this initiative will partner with industry experts to identify skilled trade opportunities, promote best practices in career and technical education throughout New York, and offer internship and mentorship opportunities to interested students. $739,605

Skilled Laborer Jobs Training Program

Erie and Niagara Counties (Buffalo), NY

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Local workforce boards, higher education training centers, and local Veterans Affairs support offices. The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) will receive funding for its Skilled Laborer Jobs Training Program. This project will develop a three-part approach to recruit, train, and provide career pathways for traditionally underserved populations, including minorities, veterans, and the long-term unemployed. By instituting a pipeline of skilled workers, NFTA aims to address a shortage of mechanics and technicians that are critical to their operations, a shortage that is expected to intensify as more current employees approach retirement age. The program will leverage strategic partnerships with regional organizations such as the Buffalo and Erie County Workforce Investment Board, the U.S. Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System, and the Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services. $303,000

Career Pathways Program

Cleveland, OH

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College, and El Barrio Workforce Development Center - The Centers for Families and Children. The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) will receive funding for its Career Pathways Program (CPP). This program addresses all aspects of the transit workforce, from student internships to upper-level management. A partnership with El Barrio Workforce Development Center will recruit and train women, minorities, and veterans to join the GCRTA workforce, especially in low-income communities. Eligible participants will receive accelerated training in the high-demand electrical and mechanical programs taught at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). Upon completion of these programs, GCRTA will offer internships and on-the-job training to prepare successful participants for careers at the agency. In addition, a partnership with Cleveland State University (CSU) will expose undergraduate and graduate students to a variety of career opportunities in transit. $407,780

N2N Automotive University

Green Country Region, OK

Grand Gateway Economic Development Association (EDA) Workforce investment boards and education centers The Grand Gateway Economic Development Association (EDA) will receive funding to establish the N2N Automotive University. Located in the Green Country region of Northeast Oklahoma, this program will identify and train participants primarily from impoverished American Indian communities in the area using an innovative Nation-to-Nation (N2N) recruitment strategy. Selected participants will receive fast-track training in automotive repair and operations that can then be applied to transit vehicles as well as a range of automotive careers. In a rural and low-income area, EDA will work with the Northeast Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board, Oklahoma Workforce's DESI program, and the Northeast Technology center to provide Ladders of Opportunity to those who need it most. $399,933

TAPS University Employment Enrichment Initiative

Texoma Region, TX

Texoma Area Paratransit System, Inc. Austin College and other educational institutions The Texoma Area Paratransit System, Inc. (TAPS) will receive funding to implement the TAPS University Employment Enrichment Initiative, a program designed to attract individuals of all backgrounds and skill levels to the agency, endow them with industry-specific and transferable skills, and establish a path forward for future growth and personal fulfillment within the field. As TAPS is undergoing a high-growth period where their workforce is expected to increase by 100 percent, recruiting and training skilled employees will create Ladders of Opportunity in a high-demand field. Current TAPS employees will benefit from expanded offerings in a variety of career development courses, while TAPS will also enhance its efforts to recruit new talent into the transit industry through partnerships with local high schools and universities such as Austin College. With a service area of over 13,000 square miles in a region with a high proportion of economically disadvantaged residents, The Employment Enrichment Initiative will be able to make a significant impact in North Texas. $427,770

Village Vans program

Olympia, WA

Intercity Transit Workforce organizations Intercity Transit will receive funding for Village Vans, an ongoing program that aims to serve as a national model for workforce development in large service areas with high levels of impoverished households. Village Vans provides low-income individuals with free on-the-job training operating Intercity Transit vehicles, which can be applied to permanent employment with the agency or elsewhere in the transportation industry. A low-cost, high-impact program, Village Vans is unique in helping both passengers and drivers find employment, resulting in a higher-quality workforce in Thurston County and more economic self-sufficiency in disadvantaged communities. $200,000

Puget Sound Region Ladders to Opportunity Initiative

Puget Sound Region (King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties), WA

Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County Labor unions and workforce development councils The Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County will receive funding for the Puget Sound Region Ladders to Opportunity Initiative. Serving Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties, this program will create a pipeline of skilled workers ready to enter the construction and transit industries. The Ladders to Opportunity Initiative will bring together eight regional organizations to develop comprehensive career training, including mechanical and technical skills, and resume building. Targeted outreach to groups such as women, minorities, and native tribes will improve access to apprenticeships, social services, and job placement programs, allowing those underserved communities to better participate in the massive growth of transit-related construction in the Puget Sound region. Currently, the region does not have enough skilled workers to meet demand, making this project a win-win for local transit agencies and low-income residents seeking a fulfilling career. $476,776
Funding Total $9,481,721
Updated: Wednesday, March 16, 2016
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