APTA to Launch Virtual Workforce Development Center

“Making the right investments in lifelong learning is as important for the public transportation industry as making the right investments in capital projects,” Paul Skoutelas, President and CEO, American Public Transportation Association (APTA), recently said. “APTA has a comprehensive program underway to help our members strengthen the competencies of current employees, and attract and retain a diverse, skilled, and knowledgeable workforce to meet tomorrow’s needs.”

Armed with recent member survey data, APTA has focused on two strategic initiatives: envision and create new online learning resources that will impact tomorrow’s workforce; and investigate new models for industry certification and credentialing programs.

To launch this effort, APTA first engaged the talents and expertise of its members and consultants to produce two customized pilot e-learning modules – one for new transit supervisors and one for executive-level deputies. APTA also commissioned a comprehensive study and set of recommendations as the transit industry assesses and evaluates potential certification and credentialing models.

Finally, APTA re-envisioned its current workforce portal and is creating a new Virtual Center for Workforce Development – an industry go-to resource to access learning and development opportunities, national and regional programs and industry best practices.

“Our grant from the National Network is helping to make this work possible, by providing us the means to supplement internal funding to create new industry resources and programs,” said Joe Niegoski, Senior Director of Educational Services at APTA.

The public transportation industry is rapidly transforming from traditional modal systems to one focused on integrated mobility. In response, the industry is creating new tools and programs to prepare its workforce differently as it adapts to current and future challenges.

As new industry supervisors replace baby-boomer retirees, there must be opportunities in place for them to improve essential skill sets, including how to prepare for and conduct difficult conversations. This initial pilot module helps lay that groundwork through industry-specific scenarios, case studies and online journaling.

Transit industry deputies will benefit from an innovative pilot module that takes its stories and lessons learned from current industry deputies, CEOs and executive leaders. This module helps new deputies better lead, represent their organization, make difficult decisions and be ready to take charge at a moment’s notice.

The APTA Certification and Credentialing Industry Recommendations will help industry leaders make informed decisions and determine next steps. Recommendations will be made in the near future.

“Our Virtual Workforce Center pilot site will provide a completely renovated, easily accessible portal for national, regional and local programs, studies, webinars, e-learning, industry best practices and much more,” Niegoski noted. “We are grateful for the National Network’s support to make it happen.”

The messages of Mobility Management and innovations in workforce development were reinforced at APTA’s 2018 National Workforce Summit. Throughout the event, one message rang out loud and clear: Public transportation must transform its learning resources to exceed the expectations of its new workforce.