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 helped members address workforce development issues by conducting surveys and other research to identify key challenges and opportunities in this area, as well as by convening a Blue Ribbon Panel on Workforce Development, which presented its recommendations to APTA in 2010. These and other resources are available below.
APTA’s business plans have several goals related to implementing the recommendations of the blue ribbon panel, including conducting APTA’s second Youth Summit, broadening the promotion of the "National Public Transportation Career Day," and developing and launching new professional development programs, products, and resources.
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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
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.