“SuperTrain” Management Training (Orange County Transportation Authority)

SuperTrain is a management training program run by OCTA that consists of seven modules, each focusing on a different aspect of public transit management. This training is aimed at new supervisors, and focuses leadership competencies such as decision making, goal setting, and building relationships within a team. Each module lasts from 2-3 hours. SuperTrain is open enrollment, so any management employee can choose to take the class. OCTA also offers a course on “Supervisory Essentials” that covers subjects such as labor and employee relations. Each Supervisory Essentials model can be taken separately, with a certificate offered to those who complete the entire course.

Contact:  Julie A. Espy, Manager, Learning & Development

Certification and Degree Program (Bay Area Rapid Transit)

BART maintains partnerships with many colleges and universities in the Bay Area for their employees to obtain transportation management certificates and master’s degrees. Individual departments can sponsor employees for these programs who are interested in eventual promotion. BART is currently working to ensure that there is more of a career path for these employees after the courses and to incorporate these programs into the broader structure of training at the agency.

Contact:  May Cooper

Lean Program (Pierce Transit)

​Based off Lean maintenance philosophy stressing efficiency and innovative, flexible solutions. Basic course includes an introduction to Lean theory followed by practical applications. Additional offerings include a Leadership course with similar content, but a focus on supporting frontline employees, and a Green Belt program in which trainees learn more about Lean philosophy, and implement it in an individual program designed to improve Pierce Transit’s efficiency.

Management Development Academy (Orange County Transportation Authority)

The Management Development Academy is an abbreviated version of the Leadership Development Academy described under “Senior Management.” MDA consists of eight monthly 5-hour sessions and is run every few years at OCTA, generally during years in which the Leadership Development Academy is not run. The program focuses on how to manage, inspire, and motivate staff and is intended for emerging and mid-level managers. Because the program is shorter and smaller-scale than LDA, it is far easier for an agency like OCTA to staff.

Contact:  Julie A. Espy, Manager, Learning & Development

Manager and Supervisor Training (King County Transit)

King County transit has a new program aimed at new entry-level managers and supervisors working directly with frontline employees. This program includes classroom sessions, individual projects, and 1-1 coaching and lasts for a manager’s first 5-6 months. The training places a heavy emphasis on “people leadership skills” such as maintaining diversity and inclusion within King County Transit, creating a culture of safety, and encouraging continuous improvement and employee engagement and development. The program is still working to balance these people skills courses with technical training, but has been fairly successful so far and is expected to improve in the future.

Contact:  Jonathan Halperin, Workforce Development Program Manager

Manager in Training Program (Chicago Transit Authority)

The Manager in Training program is a ten-month program taught as a weekend institute once a month. The program is aimed at entry-level managers and is taught by a DePaul professor with experience in teaching leadership competencies. The program focuses on a three-part model: leading work, leading self, and leading others. Leading work encompasses technical and operations skills, leading self encompasses personal development and branding, and leading others includes leadership skills used to manage others within the organization. The program teaches managers how other departments within the organization work and helps with succession planning within CTA, as well as assigning managers individual projects such as increasing bus ridership in particular areas while improving customer service.

Contact:  Geisha Ester, Director, Training and Professional Development

Metro Leadership Academy (Los Angeles Metro)

The Metro Leadership Academy is an innovative program aimed at developing the next generation of transportation infrastructure leaders to solve mobility challenges. This 12-month structured program provides participants with the framework and tools to understand their personal leadership style, the business of Metro and the transportation industry. Through a mix of sessions led by Metro instructors and an academic partner, participants leave with a greater understanding of Metro, leadership competencies, a heightened awareness of personal leadership style, enhanced self-confidence, industry knowledge, and individual influence; all geared toward the creation of a stronger corporate succession plan.

Contact:  Joanne Peterson, Chief Human Capital and Development Officer

Monthly Course Calendar (Chicago Transit Authority)

The Chicago Transit Authority runs a monthly calendar of courses in order to create a program of learner engagement for the entire year. These courses consist of two hour-long workshops over the course of a month. Four categories of course program are offered each month. These categories are: Professional Development, Learn and Lead, Health and Safety, and Technical. Professional Development courses are open to all staff and include change management and other similar skills. The Learn and Lead courses are a workshop for leaders (not necessarily in a management role) within the organization, and have been offered in collaboration with other local institutions such as the Shedd Aquarium. The Health and Safety courses include both required and supplemental offerings. Technical courses include Microsoft Office programs and other professional skills.

Contact:  Geisha Ester, Director, Training and Professional Development

Public Transit Management Academy (Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority)

The Public Transit Management Academy is a yearlong program open to all GCRTA employees. PTMA is run through a collaboration with Cleveland State University and includes 15 full-day classroom sessions in addition to extensive individual and team-based projects and presentations, delivered to 30 students per cohort. PTMA is intended to provide the necessary expertise to promote managers from within the organization, and focuses on leadership, management, and communications skills. Over the past few years, GCRTA has received several FTA training grants designed to improve PTMA and expand the program in the future.

Contact:  George F. Fields, SPHR, Director, Training & Employee Development

San Mateo Research, Training, and Development Consortium (San Mateo County Transit)

The San Mateo Research, Training, and Development Consortium is a countywide training program run by the county itself, and is not specific to transit. However, San Mateo County Transit does make use of the program, enrolling employees in each of the three academies offered. (These consist of one academy for frontline workers, one for supervisors, and one for executives of various county departments). San Mateo RTD offers trainings on subjects such as emotional intelligence and conflict resolution that have broad applicability in many fields, including transit. Because the program is countywide, San Mateo County Transit does not necessarily have as many spots as other departments, but has been able to send 6-10 people a year to the worker and supervisor academies and is looking to send more people in the future.

Contact:  Robert James Greenleaf, III, Manager, Organization Development and Talent Management

Santa Monica Institute (Santa Monica Big Blue Bus)

This citywide, cross-department program run by the City of Santa Monica, offers a 10-week program of courses to both frontline and staff employees, most of whom enroll in at least one course a year. These courses include both mandatory training and optional development programs.

Soft and Hard Skills Training (Bay Area Rapid Transit)

BART offers its employees this program of training throughout the year. The training covers both general workplace “soft” skill and technical training and is open to all levels of employees, including managers and supervisors. The program has run for over three years, with 6-8 employees in each class at a time. There have been some difficulties maintaining enrollment; the class is offered during work hours and is optional. In addition to addressing this, BART hopes to develop these classes into a coherent leadership program in the future.

Contact:  May Cooper

Succession Management (King County Transit)

King County Transit is currently implementing a succession management program designed to ensure that they can retain all of the competencies of current staff as those staff begin to retire or leave. While there are several challenges in creating a succession management program in the public sector because of preexisting commitments to seniority-based promotions, King County Transit has been able to implement a system in which promising first and second line managers are identified and mentored for promotion into senior roles through 6 months of job coaching. The program has identified 8 people so far, of whom nearly 50% have been promoted. King County Transit is now looking to expand the program and to increase this number to a 75% promotion rate.

Contact:  Jonathan Halperin, Workforce Development Program Manager

Succession Planning Program (Orange County Transportation Authority)

OCTA is also implementing a succession planning program in order to proactively address possible future gaps in talent. In this program, managers examine the roles that the administrative employees they work with currently fill and what competencies they use in those roles. OCTA then creates succession plans for each of those employees detailing how they plan to train potential replacements if the employees in question were to leave. Because OCTA is a public agency with a limited budget, they usually cannot “double-fill” positions and simply assign a replacement to shadow another employee full-time. Instead, they rely on rotations to give people a broad perspective on the agency and focused training on the skills needed for particular positions in order to make sure that knowledge is not lost when employees leave. Of the roughly 500 administrative employees at OCTA, around 400 have succession plans in place.

Contact:  Julie A. Espy, Manager, Learning & Development

Supervisory Training and Education Program (Santa Monica Big Blue Bus)

The Supervisory Training and Education Program (STEP) is a program that Big Blue Bus uses to train potential new managers and supervisors. Operators and mechanics working in a direct, frontline capacity are moved from those jobs to become a temporary line instructor or active supervisor. This program lasts for a full year, giving trainees extensive experience that allows them to eventually move toward a more permanent managerial position.

Contact:  Rolando Cruz, Chief Operations Officer

Talent Management Program (Pierce Transit)

Pierce Transit recently began using the talent management program NeoGov Insight and hired a new talent management administrator as part of an expanded talent management program. They also implemented new processes to track employees’ competencies and improvement. Using the automated program, Pierce Transit can use tests to sort applicant pools as well as targeting these tests to specific skills. This intensified commitment to talent management also included new classes teaching skills that Pierce had identified as especially necessary, with each class serving roughly 35 employees. This expanded tracking helps Pierce Transit keep track of the qualifications of the over 100 applicants who apply for each open upper administrative post. While it took several months for employees to adjust to the new tools, the talent management program has been a success overall and Pierce is now looking to implement similar programs for onboarding new employees and improving management.

Contact:  Samantha Einarson

University of the Pacific Transit and Paratransit Maintenance Course (San Mateo County Transit)

While San Mateo county Transit frequently contracts with outside organizations for training, they have also developed a course in collaboration with the University of the Pacific which they offer in-house. The course focuses on bus maintenance and is taught over the course of 8 or 9 sessions offered every two weeks. This program is part of a broader​ collaboration between San Mateo County Transit and other agencies in the region such as BART, VTA, and San Joaquin transit, which send some of their employees to be trained at this course. San Mateo County Transit also focuses on teaching the Next Gen Leader framework and organizational philosophy, a four part progression of “Leading Self,” “Leading Others,” “Leading Managers,” and “Leading Organizations.”

Contact:  Robert James Greenleaf, III, Manager, Organization Development and Talent Management

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