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Webinar: Guide to Meeting Technical Training Plan Requirements for State Safety Oversight Agencies

June 10, 2015

Transcript

Operator (Lori): [0:05] Before we get started, I would like to go over a few items so you know how to participate in today's event. If you've joined the presentation listening using your computer speaker system by default, if you would prefer to join over the telephone, just select telephone in the audio pane and the download information will be displayed.

[0:27] You will have the opportunity to submit text questions to today's presenters by typing your questions into the questions pane of your control panel. You may send those questions in at any time. We will collect these and address them during the Q&A session at the end of today's presentation. I would now like to turn the webinar over to Ruth Lyons.

Ruth Lyons: [0:50] Hello. Thank you very much, Lori. Welcome, everyone, to today's webinar. For those of you who may not have received the letter that was sent out on June 8, we have extended the deadline for the technical training plan submissions to the end of September.

[1:10] While we're going through the webinar today, I wanted to make sure that, if folks have not received this letter, there has been an extension for the technical training plans to be submitted September 4. If you haven't received the letter, please reach out to us, and we'll make sure that you do receive a copy.

[1:28] What we're going to be doing is going through the following items today. I do have Maria right here, who is the SSO agency program lead here at FTA. We are really looking forward to going through the agenda here.

[1:46] As you can see, the second item, we're going to be going over the introduction and overview, which I'm going to be focusing on some historical stuff to include the Interim Provisions, who is covered, what the requirements are of the Interim Provisions of the Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program.

[2:09] After I go through those slides, we are going to have Bo Hudson from BCG do a demo for us on how to do various activities within the websites. Then we're going to follow up with Jim Caton from BCG going through the details of the technical training plan—the actual template. Then we're going to follow up with an opportunity for us to exchange questions and answers. I will start our overview of the interim provision.

[2:47] For folks who have not been sitting in on I think the last couple of webinars that we had on this, just a little background. MAP-21 requires us to establish public transportation safety certification training program for the following folks: Federal and State designated personnel who conduct safety audits and examinations of public transportation systems, so any existing Interim Provisions that is effective as of May 28; this group here is required to participate.

[3:24] Also required to participate in the program are designated employees of rail transit systems subject to Part 659 who are directly responsible for safety oversight. Then we do have a voluntary aspect of the program for personnel employed by recipients who are directly responsible for safety oversight in non rail transit systems.

[3:54] The requirement to develop the safety certification training program, because of the lengthy rulemaking process, FTA was also required to establish the Interim Provisions, and that is what I had mentioned earlier. That is what is in effect now, as of May 28.

[4:12] The personnel described on the previous slide are those who are required, and we do have the voluntary component. We have provided the links to the Federal Register Notice that does go through the description of what the applicability, and the scope, and the requirements of the program.

[4:33] Just to give you a little deeper dive here on what's included for the covered personnel, the required folks who are participating in the program, there's two different things here. There's the training curriculum, and then there's the technical training program. There have been a lot of questions about do the RTAs need to develop a technical training plan, and we really want to make sure that we continue to communicate the details and the applicability of the program.

[5:07] The Federal and State employees are required to do both, to complete the curriculum as well as the technical training plan. The required training curriculum does include the following: courses promoting the adoption of SMS and courses that meet TSI's transit safety and security program certificate.

[5:30] As most of you do know, because over 80 percent of you have completed your TSSP, we really listened to the comments that were made after the Interim Provisions were published last year, and folks really wanted to leverage the existing coursework that folks have really participated in, and spent the time.

[5:52] That is really why in the final Interim Provisions we wanted to ensure that we were leveraging the TSSP. We also have the required technical training program that is just for Feds, and SSOAs, and their contract staff. Covered personnel sign up for individual training plans with FTA.

[6:17] The required SSOA participant, each SSOA designates its covered personnel, not FTA. We do this because we think you know your program best. We're trying to give the flexibility for SSOAs to let us know who are conducting audits in examinations of the public transportation agencies in your area.

[6:41] Each SSOA will need to ensure that the designated covered personnel do the following. If you have folks who you are stating as conducting audits and examinations of the public transit agencies, they need to complete the following: the SMS training and acquire the TSSP certificate, and then also support the SSOAs agency-wide ability to meet the technical competency areas.

[7:12] That's what we're going to be talking about a lot today, the actual development of the technical competency areas. How are we expecting you to do this? Who are we expecting or asking you to tell us who you are using to address the technical competency areas? We're going to be discussing that in detail in a little while.

[7:39] Just to talk a little bit more about covered personnel, who are covered personnel? FTA anticipates that not all SSOA employees and contractors will be designated as covered personnel or need a TSSP. We have an example here for you. If you have a technical expert that's being used by the SSOA to do one of the following: to support a three-year review, or to support SSOA and its equivalency for the track inspection, technical competencies that the agency must address.

[8:13] Folks that are participating and assisting with the SSOs overseeing effectively, do not necessarily, they're not the ones who are doing the audits or examinations. When we're asking you to identify who are your covered personnel, we're asking you to determine who's doing the actual oversight of the agency?

[8:36] We will talk about that further when we are further along in the webinar. Basically, in the technical training plan, that is where you will note, identifying folks who are assisting with the technical areas. The SSOA does not have to designate that the individual is covered personnel.

[8:57] Since the SSOA is using an FRA-certified inspector, the technical competencies will be noted in the technical training plan, but again, when we do have our one-on-one calls, we can assist you in identifying who do you have listed as your covered personnel? Why, or why not? We can work on that together, especially when we have our one-on-one calls.

[9:26] We talked a little bit about the 'who.' When you're doing your technical training plan and discussing the technical competency, SSOAs can use a variety of options to meet the technical competencies. You can use your own staff, qualified staff from other agency departments, to include FRA state participation programs, or contractors.

[9:48] We've provided the link to the Federal Register Notice that does list the minimum competencies that we have identified. They can also be found on tab three of the template, which you have received. We will also go over that in a little while.

[10:09] We talked about the 'who,' and we will talk about that further as we move forward through the webinar, but the 'what.' What are the technical competencies and how are we going to get there? Because rail transit systems can vary greatly, FTA prefers the use of rail transit agency training.

[10:28] However, it is up to each SSOA to establish its means to address the competency areas. SSOAs can address each competency area through a combination of the following: rail system training equivalencies or experiences that contractors do have. Each SSOA develops a single technical training plan.

[10:51] Again, you can utilize FTA's templates, or you do have the flexibility if you have your own idea of how you can best capture meeting the technical training plan elements. It does not have to be the FTA templates. However, we're providing that to assist you.

[11:13] What do covered personnel need to do? In order to capture and identify who's in the program, who are folks identifying as covered personnel? We find this out through you registering with FTA's training website, requesting an ITP, which is the Individual Training Plan. Register for courses.

[11:34] When you put in your request for the ITP you'll receive your profile that has all the courses based on your job function. Someone getting an ITP from the rail transit agency is going to have a different profile than an SSOA, for example.

[11:55] The courses that we have listed now that pertain to the Interim Provisions are the courses listed with TSI. Also, the SMS courses, which includes the e learning and the technical training requirements as well. We have an option or an opportunity for you to request equivalencies for courses as applicable.

[12:21] What does the SSOA program manager need to do for the TTP? You need to develop the SSOA wide technical training program or plan. You can choose to use our template that we've provided as guidance. I personally really like it. I think it's very comprehensive. Again, there may be other tools that you want to use, and that's 100 percent up to you.

[12:48] When we have the one on one calls with the SSO agencies we can have the conversation then. The guidance, the template that was developed, really a lot of work went into it to make sure that it's comprehensive and it's providing guidance that helps you tell the story about your technical training capability.

[13:10] We want you to work with us in the coming months in the review of the technical training plan. We also want to alleviate any stress. This is an ongoing process. This is a new requirement. We really want to work together with the specific agencies. We'll be doing that on the one on one calls when they get scheduled.

[13:35] There is no drop...You need to develop the actual plans. But we want to work with you on a continuous basis to make sure that you're telling your story how technical training is best being covered, and we want to be able to assist you with getting there.

[13:56] Now we have very interesting opportunity to go through the website demo. We thought it'd be a good idea to do this to provide you with kind of seeing how it works if you haven't been in the website yet. We're really looking forward to your feedback on that. Oh, and we do have Bo Hudson from BCG who is going to be leading this demo for you today.

Bo Hudson: [14:23] Thanks, Ruth. Again, this is Bo Hudson with BCG supporting FTA. I'm going to be covering five unique features of the website as part of the demo today, which include registering with website, requesting an Individual Training Profile or ITP, adding a completed course, requesting course equivalency, and also uploading a Technical Training Plan or TTP, which we'll also be going over more in depth after the demo.

[14:54] Just to give you a heads up we will be showing some recorded captures of the website. If you do get behind or if you have any questions, feel free to submit questions for the Q&A, and we'll also try and make this content available after the webinar.

[15:12] The first area of functionality I'll be covering is registering with the website. Any member of the public can register, and all the registrant has to do is submit a basic form and some simple fields, which I'll show you in just a second. There is no review process, as soon as you register with the website you're provided with login access.

[15:32] This does create a personalized user experience and allows users to bookmark articles, events, save their own searches, create, manage, and track milestones, identify personal interest in transit, which allows the website to push content to users based on those interests, as well as the ability to track your training progress. Also, once you register at the website you do have the ability to request and obtain an ITP, which we'll also be showing as part of the demo.

[16:08] I'm going to show a demonstration of registering with the website. I'm currently looking at the welcome tab of the main site. I'm just going to use the blue button right in the center of the screen, ‘Register with Website.’

[16:31] This is going to bring up a simple form, including your name, email address, entering a password, which I'll go ahead and fill out. Then we can put in our agency. There is a link at the bottom to view more information on agency role, why it's important, who is required and who is not required for an ITP.

[16:51] Once you've read that message and clicked such, you can continue to fill out your agency type and role, which I'll go ahead and do. I'm going to use an SSOA PM in this case for purposes of the demo, and I'll go ahead and register. At this point, I'm in the site and you can see I have access to my dashboard and the ability to request a training profile.

[17:20] Requesting an ITP is available, as we just saw, to any user that's registered with the website. There are certain roles that it's not required for. When an IPT has requested there is an FTA review process, at the end of which a user will receive an email confirming the approval. When you log in you'll see the access, which I'll demonstrate in just a minute. Once it's approved, the system will generate the required courses as part of your ITP, which you can view on your training dashboard and track against from there.

[18:03] To request a training profile we'll start back right where we left off with registration. I'm first going to actually go to my training dashboard, within the dashboard itself, and show you, but currently I don't have any courses listed as part of my...I don't actually have an ITP yet. If I go back to my start and actually request a training profile, now we can see that request has been received. There is an FTA review process, which I mentioned.

[18:34] Once we come back in with access we can see our start on the dashboard's a little bit different. We can start to see our interests, events, which aren't populated yet because I haven't setup my profile quite yet. We also see back on the training dashboard we now have our courses that are required as part of our individual training profile.

[18:58] The next two areas of functionality have to do with obtaining credit for courses you've already taken. The first method is adding a completed course. This is to obtain credit for a course not in the catalog or as part of your ITP. For example, a miscellaneous course you took, an external course, you still want to document on your dashboard and get credit for.

[19:19] In order to do so, the feature's located on the training dashboard, which is very essential for cases as you'll see for a lot of functionality. There is a very basic form to submit about the course, including the course name, the provider, the date you took the course, description.

[19:37] Then there is an option to upload supporting documents such as the certificate of completion. This does initiate a review process, but once approved you will receive an email conformation and the status will be updated on your training dashboard.

[19:57] To demonstrate this, I'll start from my training dashboard, and you can see the button on the top right to add a completed course. There's a simple few fields here, as we mention the name, date, provider, which I'll go ahead and fill out. I did upload an example of supporting documents here at the bottom. I'll go ahead and add a course.

[20:23] At this point the request was received by FTA. If I scroll down you'll notice that it's not quite showing up on my training dashboard just yet. However, once it is reviewed and we come back in for once, it's approved; we will see it as approved on the dashboard. If we expand that course, we can see the details that we provided including the supporting document.

[20:52] The second way to obtain credit for a course you've already taken is also to request course equivalency. This is for a course you do have as part of your ITP but you may have taken another course that satisfies the requirement, and you'd like to submit that to FTA to obtain credit.

[21:09] This feature is also located on training dashboard and the form is actually very similar to that which we used for adding a completed course. It does initiate a similar review process. Once it's approved, the course will be marked as complete on the training dashboard and your ITP progress will advance forward accordingly.

[21:41] Starting from my training dashboard to request course equivalency, we'll use SMS Awareness as an example here. If I expand the course on the dashboard, we can see there is a link there to request course equivalency. If I click that, I get a similar form that we just saw for adding a completed course, which I'll go ahead and fill out, and then click ‘Request Equivalency.’

[22:09] At this point it goes into review process. We can see right here on the dashboard the status does show as equivalency requested. However, once it's approved by FTA it will be marked as complete. If we expand SMS Awareness here, we'll see it's marked as completed through equivalency.

[22:36] The last part of the demo is to go over uploading a Technical Training Plan, which we know is very on the minds of all the SSOAs right now. We will be going over the actual TTP and template after this segment of the demo.

[22:53] Uploading a Technical Training Plan is available to agency points of contact such as SSOA PMs. The feature's located on the training dashboard as a separate subpage. Once it's uploaded, the TTP appears on the training dashboard for all agency users, not just the point of contact, but only the agency point of contact can actually update the TTP. I'll go ahead and show this.

[23:23] For this demo, I have been using an SSOA PM for the duration. On my training dashboard is in SSOA PM. I have the ability to click Technical Training Plan on the left there. When I click that we can see the ability to upload a TTP. We can also see the document's due in 10 days that is as of the date when we need to update that to reflect the extension.

[23:49] To upload the document simply browse here and put in a description, which I'll go ahead and do with the sample TTP, and click upload Technical Training Plan. We can see that it was successfully uploaded. If I go back to my training and I go to Technical Training Plan we can see the document uploaded here. Again, any other user within this SSOA PM's agency can view the document from here. That concludes the demo, which I'll be turning it over to Jim Caton to review the Technical Training Plan.

Jim Caton: [24:32] Thanks, Bo. Good morning, everyone. Good early morning to folks joining us from Hawaii. I'm going to walk through, the agenda says 10 minutes, it'll probably be closer to 15. I don't want to rush through the templates that FTA distributed last week, hopefully everybody has received or forwarded on.

[24:57] The transmission from FTA on May 29 included the cover letter, the SSOA, TTP template instructions and/or document, sample TTP, which provided examples, illustrative information, and the SSOA TTP template itself.

[25:22] As we've indicated each State Safety Oversight Agency is going to develop and submit its agency wide TTP to FTA. Each agency, not each individual, will have to account for and demonstrate the competencies that are listed in the Interim Provisions.

[25:44] As Ruth mentioned, this is the beginning and not the ending of the conversation. Over the course of the next six to eight weeks, FTA, with a contracted support, will engage each of you in telephone calls and we'll walk through the TTP and what's submitted. It will be very similar to the calls that you've all had with Maria and Joe and others regarding the certified work plan in that progress. It'll be very similar to those calls.

[26:20] Now I'm going to walk through the Excel files you received. You received two Excel workbooks last week, as I mentioned earlier. One and that's the one we're viewing now, that's the template with the green tabs that FTA hopes that you submit in the near future by the new deadline, which is September 4. Then there was another workbook that we provided, that's with the red tabs and we'll get to that. That's the one that provided all the examples and the sample information.

[27:08] Of course, as Ruth indicated earlier, the states, they're not required to use this template. This was just the ability for FTA to provide a template that would provide examples, sample information for you to review and hopefully support the development of your TTP, and also promote some standardization in what will be submitted to FTA if you do choose to use it.

[27:41] Let's look at the SSOA TTP template. I've had a few calls with some of the SSOA program managers. I know, at first it was a lot of information, two workbooks, a lot of tabs. Basically they fit into fewer, four categories. Tabs one through three, they provide that overview, the general instructions, requirement for competencies. Again, remember you've even got the Word documents for instructions to complete the template as well.

[28:19] Tab four. Here, this is actually where you will identify as an agency, your requirements, your technical requirements for meeting each of the competency areas. Tab five was that general tracking table. This is for an agency to be able to present how it is meeting each of the technical competency areas, whether it is meeting those areas, or if it is planning to meet those where it's identified some gaps.

[28:54] Tab 6 through 10, simply some tabs that we've populated the workbook that will actually present information for each of the individuals that the State Safety Oversight is using to achieve or address each of those technical competency areas. Obviously if you have more employees, you can duplicate the tab and create more. If you have less, you can delete it as necessary as you like.

[29:28] Let's jump over now to the little easier to go through, the sample template. We can identify its purpose and walk through some of the cells and what's required to complete it if you choose to use it.

[29:44] Tab one, which was the tab that had most of the extensive information in it, think of it as a reference sheet. FTA provided a number of examples on how you could complete the template. What types of training, sample courses that we know some of you have already taken?

[30:14] That's how you might meet the competency sample information regarding equivalencies that some of you obviously would put forth based on perhaps your experience and history with the program. All in all, this was simply illustrative information, just to provide some samples for you and hopefully assist you in completing your template.

[30:50] Then jump over to tab two. I've got some yellow highlights because I want to hit on some of that information in a while. I just want to walk through each of these cells. You can see that these rows that are shaded in blue, we did that to try to provide some information instructions in line in the sheet.

[31:16] We thought that was a little bit more easier approach for you to view that information than having to constantly refer back to a Word document or an instructions tab. Hopefully those are beneficial. I know some of you have started to complete the template, hopefully you found those useful.

[31:35] This cell here, is, after of course you enter in information, your agency name, program manager, version date and whatnot. This is the cell; this is where you would actually identify your state's technical requirements.

[31:54] As you can imagine, with items such as competency one, knowledge with the RTA's organizational structure, or the next one, which is the System Safety Program Plan, they're not as technical in nature as compared to vehicle inspections, track inspections, and maintenance. Your requirements are going to be drastically different.

[32:22] In this example that was provided, you'll maintain a working knowledge of the RTA's organizational structure, ability to determine if the organizational structure supports safety communication, reporting to management of safety priorities, a direct report with the CEO or GM of the rail transit agency.

[32:43] Of course, we know that unless you have just recently started at a State Safety Oversight Agency, then most likely, you've already met this, you have this knowledge. When you move over to current status for this equivalency, it's completed, you have that, or this competency, I'm sorry. You've met it.

[33:08] The means was an equivalency; because again, the Interim Provisions indicate that FTA would like to see training or prefers to see the State Safety Oversight Agency staff and program managers and those covered personnel that Ruth spoke to, receive training at the rail transit properties.

[33:29] Of course, that's not going to be the case for everyone. We understand that. That's why the equivalencies allow you an opportunity to demonstrate how you've met the competency in a manner that did not require training at the rail transit agency.

[33:47] In this case, the equivalency was two years of experience or an SSOA conducted a review and approval of an SSPP, performed three-year review, and so that's great. Move over here to refresher frequency for equivalencies, the examination requirement that it would depend on what type of equivalency you would have. For most equivalencies we understand it's based on past experience, you wouldn't have had an exam. You wouldn't have that demonstrated.

[34:20] Now, for refresher frequency however, Interim Provisions provide that it's biannual and there has got to be a validation method for that. In this case, it could be the supervisor's observation and evaluation, and also there's got to be some type of documentation of this. For this kind of non technical competency area, it might be an SSOA, a supervisor review and approval.

[34:52] If you're wondering, where? Why these cells? It's because this is the information that was laid out in the Interim Provisions and was required for the SSOAs to submit through their TTPs.

[35:12] We scroll down a little bit. Quick walk through second competency area, the RTA SSPP, working knowledge of the SSPP, ability to determine if it meets the State or Federal requirements, if you have a complete grade, an equivalency grade. Sorry for the screen jumping there.

[35:42] You've got some options here. In some cases, it may be the experience. In other cases it may be that you've gone through TSI training on rail system safety. That course covers Part 659 in the System Safety Program Plan elements. That's a great background, a great working knowledge of those requirements, and added with a review of the RTA’s SSPP you feel that that meets that competency. That's of course all acceptable.

[36:16] Now, a more technical example. We go to competency area 14; we look at something like knowledge of track inspection and maintenance program, schedules and records. Of course, your requirements are going to be a little more technical in nature for an area such as this.

[36:41] Some of the information that we provided, we gathered from, some of the states had job postings and a lot of you have already developed qualifications, those that have hired staff at states to fulfill certain duties and activities at the State Safety Oversight Agency have gone through this. There is a great opportunity to reach out to your partners in other states if you need additional qualification or technical requirements language.

[37:16] In this case, the means to meet the competency requirement, maybe your state identifies a couple options. For new staff perhaps you want to see them go through the RTA training. That's great. For staff that's already been around or you have access to, also you want to make sure that you have the ability for them to meet this competency area through equivalency.

[37:47] In this cell here you would identify that one of the ways that we're going to meet this competency area is, I want them to go through the RTA's initial track inspection and their track maintenance frame. Of course, they're going to have a test, more field demonstration.

[38:07] We can validate this through their support of our audits, or maybe our investigations at a rail property. Refresher frequency, we've got as biannual here in this example. In this case again, through observation of this individual during audit, you've observed, you evaluate, and you can sign off on this.

[38:33] For those states, there is another example. Those states that participate in the FTA, the state participation program, you have access to individuals or resources within your agency itself. In this case, you might have access to an FRA certified track inspector. That's a great resource. It's a great way to meet this competency area. Again, keep in mind here, we're really looking at the technical competencies here.

[39:05] As Ruth mentioned during the presentation, this FRA certified track inspector, this is who you're using to meet this competency for your agency. It does not necessarily mean that this individual needs an ITP, needs to get a TSSP certificate. All that will be met out in the conversations that we have.

[39:30] Those individual calls are going to be important as we walk through, and we get a sense of the responsibilities of these individuals. Are they directly responsible for managing and conducting your audits and making finance and writing reports, or are you using them for specific areas?

[39:52] During those conversations and those calls we'll have an opportunity to walk through that and identify if these individuals do or do not need to meet some of these other requirements, such as the TSI training and that certificate or the SMS training. Again, we are going to have to make sure that the agencies have all of this covered as an agency.

[40:15] One thing, I think, As Ruth pointed out is that we also understand that agencies rely on contractors to carry out work. We foresee this into the future as well, and that those contractors will be used to satisfy those technical competency areas, which is fine.

[40:38] Each state, we just want to have in its plan a note and also a process through which obviously you go through when you're procuring those services and ensuring that they have the right qualifications and satisfy or fulfill and address this competency area.

[41:02] You'll see in the samples, we have a few examples here. We move to the competency tracking like that summary tab that I spoke about. Really, what this tab and what I'm going to do is...I'll get it over there. I'm going to close. The instructions are nice but they take up a lot of real estate.

[41:33] In this tab in this worksheet, this table here is your summary table. This gives us, at a quick glance, it lets us know how and where your competencies have been met, and that would obviously go under these areas here under competencies fulfilled and those competencies that are in planning.

[41:59] That just means that you've identified a gap under one of these competency areas and you've identified a gap under one of these competency areas and you've created a plan to fulfill it.

[42:12] You'll also indicate...again, we'll have a great opportunity during the teleconference calls to go through these. Do they need an ITP? Do they need to take the SMS courses? Do they need to get the TSSP certificate? You'll walk through. You'll designate your covered personnel and this should help to find those columns.

[42:36] If we look at an example here, and we'll move into the individual sheets based on this example. I've highlighted here that I have a competency that my SSO, a program manager has a plan to fulfill. This is under employee observation and testing. We know that we've got a plan for this SSOA PM to address this competency.

[43:13] That's where we go to the individual sheets. We would expect, as is indicated here that, right, our plan is that this program manager is going to take this course, and this is the competency area that it fulfills. Maybe it's an outside vendor that's going to teach us.

[43:35] It's a classroom. Here is the date. Here is the verification method, the test results and whether or not there is a refresher required. This information here correlates to our summer sheet. That shows us that at a glance, we're planning to cover and address competency 11 and we're going to do it in this manner.

[44:05] For each of the competency areas and for each individual that you've identified to meet these competency areas or fulfill them, you'll walk through each tab, present how they've done it, whether it's an equivalency, whether or not it's classroom training, and indicate which competency area it covers. The course number, the type was a classroom, might be on the job training. Agency familiarization could have been through a series of meetings.

[44:42] Identify the source. Was that the transit agency? How was that verified? Was there a test? Sure, for this one, for RWP of course you would expect the test. You would expect the individuals to pass it. You'd indicate that. In this case, it’s an annual refresher.

[45:06] As we complete for each of our individuals, how these individual's status help our entire agency, satisfy and address these competencies, as you can see here, that builds up our tracking table.

[45:28] There are a lot of sheets, and there is a lot of information, and we know that. There was a reason to provide all this information so that when you got the template it wasn't a blank template. We thought that would be even more confusing. This was an opportunity to provide some samples.

[45:51] We looked across the history of working with many of you, looked at some of the samples, the examples, things that you're already doing, or things such as the equivalencies you might meet through experience or outside vendors or the different types of training that some of you have participated in at the rail transit agency that you oversee.

[46:13] Hopefully, where we come back to then is that, when these three areas are combined our competency to tracking and then our individuals, and the content therein, we have a nice plan that defines what your technical requirements are for each competency area.

[46:43] Obviously this includes how we're going to address each competency, how it's demonstrated the needs for refresher training, etcetera. It also provides us a plan for identifying where we've met each competency area or where we have a gap and we need to address it.

[47:03] Remember, we can do that through our own staffing or involve somebody through the state participation program or the like, through contracted services. That provides us the 'who' in meeting the competencies.

[47:23] Then those individual sheets, the third part of the plan, those are going to identify how, how we're doing this, how have we met these competencies? We've taken a course, we had on the job training, we've gone through meetings. If we've got gaps, we've got plans for training here, training there, or whatnot. Again, hopefully the examples, the sample material has helped for those who have started on this process.

[47:57] I just want to reiterate that the calls, we hope to reach out beginning this week with your points of contact, you folks that are on the call, and initiate some scheduling of the follow up teleconference calls. We can walk through this process individually with you and then obviously answer some questions that maybe specific to of certain states. We know everybody varies in their approach. Then we'll also be able to discuss the CWB progress as well.

[48:38] At this point, because I did run long, I apologize. I want to turn it over to Ruth so we can get some questions in. Thanks, everyone.

Ruth: [48:46] Thank you very much, Jim. Lori, if I could ask you to remind the folks on the webinar how to submit questions if they have not done so yet.

Operator: [48:58] Of course, Ruth. We're going to begin answering questions submitted during presentation, but I would like to remind everyone that you can still submit your questions through the questions pane of your attendee control panel. Would you like the first question?

Ruth: [49:11] Yes, please.

Operator: [49:13] The first question is from James. “When will the FAQ for TTP be sent out?”

Ruth: [49:20] Thank you very much for that question. We currently are finalizing that document. We have been responding to the questions and cataloging all the questions that we have received from the SSOAs. We're in the process of vetting that internally. Once we just clear that through, then we'll be...

[49:43] I don't want to give a date right now, only because I would hope that within the next two weeks for sure. It's in the internal review stages. Then we really want to make sure that we are responsive and get that out as fast as possible.

Operator: [49:59] All right. Thank you. Our next question's from Herman. “Will transit agency contractors who have been delegated responsibilities at the safety certifications and auditing of safety and security elements be required to complete the TSSP?”

Ruth: [50:15] Thank you very much. That is another really good question. As you find, there are many nuances that folks can come up with and there is hopefully a good answer for this one.

[50:27] Basically when an RTA is identifying those who are conducting safety audits and examination or leaving that up to the actual transit agency to determine who those people are. If you are conducting audits or examination, then those folks would be in the pool to participate in this program in all aspects of it, except for the technical training piece, which is just for the SSOs and FTA.

Operator: [51:04] All right. Our next question is from James. “Will there be a webinar for RTAs?”

Ruth: [51:12] I think that's very nice that you're thinking of the RTAs, and I think that's a great idea. That is in our grand plan to reach out and ensure that they are having the same access to the demo for the website. That is something that's in the works with our outreach and communication plan. We do not have a date yet set for that, but that is something that is being discussed. Thank you very much for that question.

Operator: [51:41] Elizabeth just asked, “What about training courses that were provided via TSI?”

Ruth: [51:52] With that question, gosh, I wish she was a little bit more detailed, but I'll try to answer as best as possible. Basically, as you're aware, four of the courses that are in the required curriculum are provided and have been provided by TSI; the effectively managing transit emergencies, rail system safety, the transit systems security and the rail accident investigation class. Those are the four courses that make up the TSSP.

[52:24] If there are additional courses that are offered down the line that you feel could be an equivalency, we want to work with you one on one on what your interpretation is of something and work with you one on one to ensure that you receive any equivalency that you believe that you should get.

Operator: [52:45] All right. Thank you. The next question is, and I'm sorry if I mispronounce your name, Verjan asked, “How can a program manager notify FTA that another staff will be SSOA's point of contact for training? Do we simply send an email to someone at the FTA?”

Ruth: [53:07] Absolutely. This is going to be a dynamic process. There'll be players changing, so I think that that is a really good idea. I think it was VJ that sent that in. Maybe I'm wrong, but either way, I think you're talking about the technical training piece.

[53:34] As Bo was discussing during his piece, that only the SSO program manager that's identified to make changes to the TTP, I think that may be what you're talking about, if that is the case, then yes, an email or some notification if that person has changed.

Operator: [53:57] All right. Thank you. Next question. “In terms of the SSOA members and contractors that support more than one SSOA, how can we connect with each agency in the system so that we are able to see the TTP for each SSOA supported? The system currently allows you to associate with only one SSOA.”

Ruth: [54:22] Yeah. I think that's also a very good question. Jim, I don't know what you think about that. Do you have any input on that one?

Jim: [54:30] Yeah. For this question, of course, each SSOA is going to provide a TTP. If they use a contractor, and in some cases, we know that multiple states use the same contractor, they would identify that. For the contractors or consultants that are covered personnel, if they have to provide a TTP for their consulting firm, then they would upload that through the site. That would ensure that you have satisfied the technical competency areas.

Operator: [55:14] Thank you. VJ is asking another question. "Can the SSOA training point of contact support to the FTA a list of all courses taken by all staff?"

Ruth: [55:28] Let's see. That one, VJ, that's a tricky one. But I want to say no only because the profits that we've provided for folks to participate in the program is to have their own individual training plans so that you can assist, that the participant can actually manage their own profile. That includes identifying equivalences, getting credit for former classes that you've taken. Basically, I think the answer is "no," but again, if there are nuances to this question, we can have one-on-one discussions, especially with your individual training plan.

Operator: [56:16] Thank you. Elizabeth is asking, “If template has the old due date listed, will the new template be distributed with the updated due dates?”

Ruth: [56:27] Yeah, I can appreciate that question a lot. Thank you very much, but we're thinking is, because of the letter that was sent out with the new due date, that will supersede. You could just cross out that date and put in September 4. That would be fine by us.

Operator: [56:47] Elizabeth also asked, “Will all PSI courses that were completed be uploaded into the training website, or only the courses Ruth mentioned?”

Ruth: [56:58] Yes, they absolutely can do that.

Operator: [57:05] Steve is asking, “is there a plan to increase frequency of required PSI training courses?”

Ruth: [57:13] Yeah. That's another good question. We're very, very sensitive to the fact that we need to meet demand. We have upped our delivery for FY16 significantly. As you guys on the call are aware, we are offering these courses all over the country. We do know that there are folks that may request a class in your region and find that it's actually full.

[57:41] We need to hear from you. We need to make sure that we’re aware about these incidents that occur, but also, my esteemed colleague, Dakisha, just brought to my attention, the fact that you can request to host a class, and that will really help with ensuring that you get the courses that you need.

[58:04] I know a lot of folks may have three courses that make up the certificate program and they just need one more. Sometimes folks keep missing getting into that class. We want to be aware of when that is happening, and work with you to make sure that you can either host the class, and we ensure that we can actually get the resources to deliver that class at your SSOA. Then also, we want to make sure we work with you on that.

Operator: [58:40] Thank you. The next question is from Ron, “Just wanted to make sure I heard this correctly...consulting firms can develop and upload a firm FTP if they service multiple SSOAs.”

Ruth: [58:58] Yes, that is correct.

Operator: [59:03] Thank you. The next question is, “for most of these trainings, aside from the required SMS and TSSP, can we SSOAs state that the SSO work we do on the accident investigation tri-annuals, special studies, corrective actions, SSPs, SEPTs as equivalent since SSOs are fully immersed in these activities that continue their competencies in these areas.

[59:35] [crosstalk]

Ruth: [59:36] That's a really good one. This is where the one on one calls are really going to be helpful. If you have, like you said, all the accident investigations, tri annuals, special studies, all these equivalencies that you have, based on all the activities that you're doing. We can address these all on a case by case basis when we're doing the one on one calls to make sure you're getting the equivalences that you believe that you should have.

Operator: [60:04] All right, I just want to remind everyone that we're still reviewing the questions, but please if you want to submit questions, you can do so by typing your questions into the questions pane at the control panel.

[60:15] Our next question is from Darren. “We have a number of RTAs under our jurisdiction, please confirm that we have flexibility to not require our field inspectors to attend formal training at each RTA, and our TTP can outline other requirements to set their competencies?”

Ruth: [60:37] Yes, that's absolutely correct. We want to make sure that the folks who are conducting the audits and the examinations are in the program, and those that are in doing specific slices of the technical training piece, as long as those competencies are listed in the technical training plan.

Operator: [60:59] All right. Still reviewing the questions.

[61:05] [long pause]

Operator: [61:31] All right, that looks like all the questions that we have. Ruth, do you want to give it a few more minutes, or would you like to close?

Ruth: [61:43] If we could take a minute to evaluate any questions that may just come in.

Operator: [61:48] All right.

[61:50] [pause]

Operator: [61:54] We have a question from James Smith. “If an RTA uses a staff person just for accident investigations and not audit examinations, what classes would they need to take?”

Ruth: [62:13] For that one, if you have an RTA who you uses a staff person just for accident investigation. I'm going to go back and clarify something that we discussed earlier on one of the previous questions. The RTAs, those that are identified as safety oversight personnel, those are the folks of the RTAs who will be identified as required to be in the program.

[62:50] If you do have someone at the RTA who has been designated as safety oversight, then they are required to participate in the program, and they will go through the same process with the website registration, requesting the ITP, and then based on that person's job function, they will then receive their ITP based on their profile.

[63:19] If an RTA does have someone who is just doing accident investigations, if they're identifying that as safety oversight function, then that RTA can determine if they're a covered personnel or not.

Operator: [63:35] Thank you. Victor is asking, “Do RTAs have the same deadlines to submit ITPs and other documents?”

Ruth: [63:49] The Rail Transit Agency personnel who are designated as safety oversight are required to participate in the Interim Provisions, which has been effective since May 28, so the effective date is May 28 and they have three years to complete their curriculum. The RTAs do not have the requirement to develop technical training plans, so that is not part of their required curriculum.

Operator: [64:17] Thank you. Steven is asking, “What are the competencies that qualify under the FTA equivalency acceptance outside of the FRA track inspector?”

Jim: [64:33] Good question. In our examples, we just walked through a couple samples for equivalencies. Obviously, this is something that each state, when they define their technical requirements, and they feel they've met them through an equivalency; they'll want to indicate that. With respect to the state participation program with FRA, you would have vehicle inspectors, certified operating practice inspectors.

[65:03] So from that cadre or that pool of folks, there are those options. You may have other agency personnel with credentials or qualifications that would meet that competency area. That will be, please obviously indicate that in the TTP and we can walk through that during the call.

Operator: [65:29] I think that is all the questions that we have right now.

[65:31] [pause]

Operator: [65:43] I have one more question from Darren. “Has FTA clarified that TSI that SSOAs are not limited to two attendees per class?”

Ruth: [65:55] Yeah, and we can appreciate that. We've had a model in the past, if someone hosts the class then they get a certain number of seats, and then they can open up to regional folks. We believe that if you're hosting a class and you're an SSOA, we definitely want you to have as many seats as you need.

[66:17] But if you are an SSOA and you're trying to get into a class, and you're being told that you can only have two seats, we would really like to assist you in getting what you need, and just pick up the phone, give me a call, and TSI will also work with you. If and when this happens, just give us a call, we want to make sure that you get what you need.

Operator: [66:44] Thank you, I'm going to the questions one more time just to make sure we've gotten all of them. All right, looks like we are finished with the questions. Ruth, do you have any last minute remarks?

Ruth: [67:07] Yeah. I want to thank everybody here today, the support for helping us get this message out to all of you. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to participate in this webinar. We will be having a second webinar for those who missed today, and that's going to be on June 16 at 12 o'clock. We'll be sending out a notice to that effect, and it's going to be a recording of today's webinar to ensure the consistency of the message.

[67:40] We'll be sending that out shortly. If there are any other questions, please feel free to email them to us, and if they're based on the website, if you can send the question to the TSO_FAQ@dot.gov or if it's a program question with regarding to any SSOA grants or what have you, if you could send that to your SSO program manager for your region. Thank you very much for your time today.

Operator: [68:21] I'd just like to add, on behalf of our presenters, thank you very much for joining us today, and have a great rest of your day.

Updated: Wednesday, March 16, 2016
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