Taking Transportation Careers to the Next Level

Metro CEO Phil Washington, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and Metro Board Chairman and LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

Metro CEO Phil Washington, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and Metro Board Chairman and LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

Workers building Los Angeles County’s vast – and still growing – transportation system are getting a boost from the federal government to take their skills to the next level.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who chairs the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Tuesday to announce $1.1 million in federal grants for local workforce development.

“Metro needs a diverse group of well-trained and skilled employees as it embarks on one of the largest public works programs in the nation,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said during the press conference at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College (Trade Tech), a beneficiary of the grants.

“By investing in the human capital needed to redefine our transportation system, we are changing the landscape of the region,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas added.

Trade-Tech and the Community Career Development Inc./LA Valley College will both receive grants allocated through the Federal Transit Administration’s Public Transportation Workforce Development program. Metro will provide matching funds.

Trade-Tech will receive $775,000 from the federal government to establish the Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology Training – the first of its kind in a community college in the country.

Community Career Development Inc./LA Valley College, meanwhile, is setting aside its $331,000 share for its Moving Employees into Transit Related Opportunities program, which will recruit and train low-income individuals, women, veterans, minorities, and others.  

“In Los Angeles and across the country, as ridership continues to trend upward and major transit projects are planned, built, and put into service, the transit industry will continue to see high demand for skilled workers,” Secretary Foxx said.

“We are committed to making careers in transit a pathway to education, financial security, and other ladders of opportunity, especially for those in disadvantaged communities,” he added.

The grants come at a crucial time in the transportation industry. The federal Departments of Transportation, Education, and Labor recently released a report, Strengthening Skills Training and Career Pathways Across the Transportation Industry, that details projected increases in future demand for skilled transportation workers.

According to the analysis, employers will need to hire and train 4.6 million new workers – 1.2 times the current transportation workforce – due to expected growth, retirements and turnover in the transportation industry from 2012 to 2022.

Also at Tuesday’s event were acting FTA Administrator Therese McMillan, LA Community College District Board of Trustees President Scott Svonkin California Community Colleges Chancellor Dr. Brice Harris, Trade-Tech Vice President of Workforce Development Leticia Barajas, and Community Career Development Inc. Executive Director Gloria Moore.