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FTA grant dedicated to workforce training, retention will help secure future of transit industry workforce

Washington, DC – Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement applauding the FTA for awarding the Transportation Learning Center a $5 million grant to be used solely for frontline workforce training, retention, and recruitment:

“President Biden has long said that when you invest in working people, you invest in America. The grant, awarded by the FTA to the Transportation Learning Center, exemplifies this belief. By supporting the workforce training needs of frontline transit workers, FTA’s $5 million grant will help ensure public transportation remains a viable, affordable option for communities across our country, and a hotbed of good, union jobs.

“Even prior to the pandemic, transit agencies across the country and the working people who power these systems lacked the federal support and financial resources they need to prepare for the future. The significant, unmet training needs of our nation’s public transportation workers are only compounded by the fact that many of them will become eligible for retirement in just a few years. Furthermore, as transit agencies look to transition to greener vehicles, studies have shown that the current workforce does not have the training it needs to maintain these new vehicles, leaving major skills, retention, and recruitment gaps that must be filled.

“By recognizing these needs and awarding the Transportation Learning Center a grant dedicated to workforce training, the FTA is taking the necessary steps to help ensure the health and vitality of the transit industry and its dedicated frontline workforce. By establishing national training programs, this grant will give labor and management in the transit industry the resources they need to recruit, hire, train, and retrain a dedicated workforce; help attract a new generation of workers to the transit industry; and show frontline workers that jobs in transit make rewarding careers people can raise families on.

“While this is undoubtedly a positive step forward for transit workers, we are disappointed that the bipartisan infrastructure deal being negotiated in the Senate did not include authorizing language for a dedicated workforce training center, which was authorized at $12 million per year in the INVEST in America Act. We thank appropriators for making these funds available, but we also recognize that funding and continuity of training activities is a long-term need that should be granted certainty in the reauthorization of our surface transportation programs.”