Workforce development - attracting, developing and retaining a diverse workforce - is critical to the continuing success of the public transportation industry.
The industry faces a severe shortage of skilled and seasoned employees as thousands of workers from the baby-boom generation approach retirement over the next five to ten years. Other significant workforce challenges facing the public transportation industry include a generally tight labor market, an increase in technological requirements across job functions, and the growing diversity of the workforce.
During the past several years, APTA has assisted our members and the industry address workforce development needs, challenges and issues by convening executive led panels and studies, forging partnerships with a cross-section of industry and non-industry leaders and organizations, introducing new programs, conducting featured sessions, showcasing best practices at APTA conferences and webinar series, developing surveys and leading other research to identify key challenges and opportunities for industry improvements.
APTA is proud of our many workforce accomplishments. We also recognize the enormity of workforce challenges. We continue to work closely with our members, many partners, including the academic communities, organized labor, and many others, to ensure we can address and support the growing set of transit industry workforce needs and challenges.
Please see below for a sampling of resources, programs and reports.
Virtual Transit Career Network
The public transportation industry is very excited to launch the Transit Virtual Career Network (TVCN) web portal.
The TVCN is the place to go to learn about various frontline transit industry jobs and related skills in operations, maintenance, facilities and administration. This site also lets a job seeker find out where to go locally for related courses and training as well as helps one access information about financial aid opportunities. And, most importantly, the TVCN helps identify many transit job openings in your area and across the country. This brand new transit industry web site is truly a one-stop shop for frontline job seekers, including returning veterans. With baby boomers retiring, the transit industry has many jobs coming online. This web site is also a great tool for transit organizations, guidance counselors, teachers, and many others.
The Transit VCN is part of a network of sites built on the VCN platform, which was created by the American Association of Community Colleges through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Partner organizations involved in the initial platform development include: American Council on Education, Department of Defense’s Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Lab, Direct Employers Association, ed2go, iSeek Solutions, Jobs for the Future, National Association of State Workforce Agencies, National Association of Workforce Boards, American Dental Education Association, and XPAND Corporation. The Transit VCN initiative is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration under the leadership of Rutgers University and developed by APTA, NAWB and XPAND with support of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration and the American Association of Community Colleges.
Workforce Development Webinar Series
The Human Resources Committee is very proud of our 2014 Webinar series. Many of our sessions focused on the needs of our frontline workforce. To learn more about the series and to view past session, click here.
National and Regional Workforce Programs and Resources
Learn more about national and regional professional development programs – from early career programs to board member seminars and executive education. Collect and share valuable information. Click here.
Recent APTA Reports
Creating Sustainable Human Capital Investment:
A Final Report of the 2012 APTA Workforce Development Task Force
American Public Transportation Association, September 2012
Gary Thomas, APTA Chair 2011-2012, established a special task force charged to address any recent developments or changes in the industry that would shift the focus of the association’s workforce development strategy as outlined in APTA’s 2010-2014 Strategic Plan. The special task force was led by then APTA Vice Chair, Flora Castillo, now, current APTA Chair. Members of the task force represented a diverse cross section of executives, senior leaders, key stakeholders and next generation leaders from both the public and private sectors of our industry. The final recommendations were presented to the APTA Board of Directors when they met in conjunction with the 2012 APTA Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA.
Blue Ribbon Panel on Workforce Development
American Public Transportation Association, May 2010.
Dr. Beverly A. Scott, APTA Chair 2008-2009, established a blue ribbon panel on workforce development, representing the public and private sectors of the industry, key stakeholders and partners, including labor, academia, and the next generation of leaders in APTA. The final recommendations of the panel were presented in May 2010.
Skill Development and Training Needs Report
American Public Transportation Association, July 2010.
In 2009, APTA conducted a survey of its members to learn more about the need for workforce skill-building in the public transportation industry. The accompanying report, published in July 2010, will give APTA, its member organizations, and the industry useful data to better plan, identify and address workforce development needs
Working Together: A Systems Approach for Transit Training
Transportation Learning Center, 2008
This report outlines how transit training partnerships between labor and management are the most effective way for the transit industry to address its skill challenges. The consensus training guidelines in the report were developed by transit systems and local unions working together.
Engaging, Recognizing and Developing the MTA Workforce
Metropolitan Transportation Authority, November 2007.
Based on interviews, data analyses, field visits, and their own expertise, MTA's Blue Ribbon Panel developed recommendations that provide diverse approaches to strengthen and enhance the MTA workforce and its relationships with customers and external stakeholders.
Leadership: The Next Generation
Leadership APTA Class of 2007, October 2007.
As thousands of workers from the "Baby Boomer" generation near retirement, public transportation systems face a critical shortage of skilled and seasoned employees. This report describes the characteristics of workers in each generation, and outlines strategies for attracting Generation X and Y to jobs and careers in public transportation.
Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Materials
TCRP Workforce Development Publications and Current Projects
Archive of Older Materials
Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) Task Force
American Public Transportation Association, September 2003.
APTA established this task force in 2001 to address the current and future workforce needs for the industry. The final report and recommendations of the task force were approved in September 2003, including "mainstreaming" workforce development into APTA's programs, activities and committees. The report remains a vital resource for the industry.