Transit Workforce Development News: Labor Shortages
As the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the state budget direct significant amounts of funding to transit-related investments, labor shortages in the construction and transit operations and maintenance sectors could severely limit the benefits of these investments. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), California Workforce Development Board, California Transit Training Consortium (CTTC), and West Coast Center of Excellence in Zero-Emission Technology (CoEZET) are all working to facilitate growth in the needed workforces.
The IIJA specifically authorizes FTA grant recipients or subrecipients to use a local or other geographical or economic hiring preference to build FTA-funded projects. FTA has subsequently rescinded a pilot program launched in 2021 that was geared toward facilitating equitable employment opportunities, and that has now been more fully authorized by the IIJA. The IIJA requires transit agencies applying for FTA’s bus grants to determine the associated workforce planning and training needs in advance. FTA’s website says, “we asked transit leaders to talk to their workers and create a plan not only for transitioning to cleaner fleets, but also to support the men and women who drive them and keep them running.”