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TTD TO REPRESENTATIVES: SUPPORT TRAINING FOR THE TRANSIT AND RAIL WORKFORCE

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, I urge you to cosign Congressman Jesus G. “Chuy” García’s appropriations request (below) to the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee in support of funding for frontline workforce development training for bus drivers and train operators.

We know that, when done right, training programs lead to a more effective workforce and create opportunities for upward mobility. What’s more, as highlighted in a recent hearing before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the need for highly skilled workers in the transit and rail workforce has grown tremendously over the past 30 years, while training programs have simply not kept pace. In the transit sector alone, on average between just 0.66 and 0.88 percent of payroll is spent on training, while transit agencies in other parts of the world spend as much as 8 percent to ensure a world-class workforce. Of the limited federal funds we do supply for training through the Federal Transit Administration, 80 percent goes to white collar training, leaving the training needs of the frontline workforce desperately underfunded.

TTD urges your support for Congressman García’s appropriations request so that we can ensure much needed training opportunities through proven labor-management partnerships and apprenticeships for the current and next generation of blue-collar technicians and operators.

Sincerely,

Larry I. Willis


Sending Office: Honorable Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia
Sent By: Don.Andres@mail.house.gov

 

Support Frontline Bus and Rail Transit Workers

Sign appropriations letter to provide funding for workforce development training
for bus drivers and train operators

Supported by: Amalgamated Transit Union

 

Current Signers: Chuy García, Jamie Raskin, Danny K. Davis, Elijah E. Cummings, Jan Schakowsky, Antonio Delgado, Stephen F. Lynch, Nydia Velázquez, Alma S. Adams, Ph.D, Sharice Davids, Gwen Moore, Steve Cohen, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. , Bobby L. Rush, Yvette D. Clarke, Lloyd Doggett, Andre Carson, Cindy Axne, Darren Soto, Mikie Sherrill, Frederica Wilson, Andy Levin, Rick Larsen, Anthony Brindisi

Dear Colleagues:

Please join us in supporting frontline, transit workforce development and training programs for bus and rail transit drivers and operators in the FY2020 Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill.

We ask that programmatic support and language be inserted in the THUD bill to:

  1. (Programmatic Request): Include $5 million, in the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Technical Assistance and Training Account; AND
  2. (Language Request): To set aside not less than $2.5 million for a cooperative agreement through which the FTA assists transit recipients with frontline workforce development and standards-based training in maintenance and operations through an agreement with a national nonprofit organization with a demonstrated capacity to develop and provide such programs through labor-management partnerships and apprenticeships.
    A large percentage of the blue-collar, transit workforce will retire within the next few years without an adequate pipeline of recruits to replenish and fulfill projected workforce needs.

Despite this looming workforce crisis, few programs provide workforce development specifically for frontline, transit workers like bus drivers and train operators.

This funding will make progress in addressing these projected workforce shortfalls by investing in time-tested, standards-based training in maintenance and operations through labor-management partnerships and apprenticeships.

We ask for your support to include this important funding and language in the final THUD bill to address these workforce development and training needs. To join this letter, please contact Don Andres in Rep. García’s office – Don.Andres@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Jesús G. “Chuy” García                Jamie Raskin

Member of Congress                    Member of Congress


The Honorable David Price                                             The Honorable Mario Diaz-Balart
Chairman                                                                                Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on                                 Appropriations Subcommittee on
Transportation, Housing and Urban                            Transportation, Housing and Urban
Development                                                                          Development
2358-A Rayburn House Office Building                       1016 Longworth House Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20515                                                      Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Nita Lowey                                               The Honorable Kay Granger
Chairwoman                                                                            Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations                                          Committee on Appropriations
H-307 The Capitol                                                                  1016 Longworth House Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20515                                                        Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Chairwoman Lowey, Ranking Member Granger, Chairman Price and Ranking Member Diaz-Balart,

We are writing to request that language be included to support frontline transit workforce development and training programs for bus and transit drivers and operators and to provide $5 million for the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Technical Assistance and Training Account in the FY2020 Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill.

We ask that programmatic support and language be inserted in the THUD bill under 49 U.S.C. 5314 to include $5,000,000, in the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Technical Assistance and Training Account, of which not less than $2,500,000 shall be for a cooperative agreement through which the FTA assists transit recipients with frontline workforce development and standards-based training in maintenance and operations through an agreement with a national nonprofit organization with a demonstrated capacity to develop and provide such programs through labor-management partnerships and apprenticeships.

The public transportation industry, like many service-based sectors in the United States, will be faced with major workforce shortages in the future. A large percentage of the blue-collar, transit workforce will retire within the next few years without an adequate pipeline of recruits to replenish and fulfill projected workforce needs. The equivalent of 88% of today’s transit workforce will have to be hired and trained in the next 10 years, but the transit industry and agencies lack the capacity to train the next generation of blue-collar technicians and operators.

Despite this looming workforce crisis, relatively few programs exist to provide workforce development training to workers to perform their duties effectively, seek and acquire career advancement, and help the nation’s transit agencies operate at maximum efficiency.

While approximately 80% of transit employees are bus and train operators and mechanics, the industry focus has remained heavily skewed toward white-collar transit-workforce needs. Department of Transportation workforce funding has a strong focus toward university programs and university transportation centers despite some of the largest workforce gaps being among blue collar technicians, electricians, and signal operators. Currently, 80% of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA’s) limited workforce funds go to white collar roles – 16 times more per employee than blue-collar employees. While the National Transit Institute (NTI) is funded at $5 million per year and provides workforce development training almost exclusively for white collar transit workers, virtually no reliable funding is set aside for frontline, transit workforce development and training.

Overall, FTA’s limited workforce development and training funds are spread out far too thin. Within the constraints of the FAST Act provisions under 49 U.S.C. 5314, the most efficient way to address blue-collar, frontline transit workforce needs is by investing in time-tested, standards-based training in maintenance and operations through labor-management partnerships and apprenticeships.

We ask for your support to include this important language in the final THUD bill to provide much needed funding for national workforce development and training assistance for frontline transit workers.

Sincerely,

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