Over the past year, the U.S. Department of Transportation, has been investing in projects that will meet the combined goals of improving the country’s transportation infrastructure, lower the country’s carbon footprint and move toward a transportation system that has less of a negative impact on the environment, and spur the economy, specifically by creating jobs and as much as possible utilizing American materials and labor.
From a recent conference encouraging ongoing streetcar development projects in major cities to use American steel for the streetcar rails, to investments in high speed rail projects, to attempts to help small business compete with larger corporations for government contracts, they have put their money where their mouth is in attempting to meet these goals.
Of course, people need to be trained to keep our transportation system running and in good repair. So the Transportation Department, with an eye toward much needed job creation, announced recently that $3 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will be used to support government funded programs around the country that train, hire, develop and retain transit workers.
“President Obama promised to help create good jobs for Americans,” said Secretary LaHood. “This money will help train young people just out of high school or college and help those already in transit jobs move ahead.”
Funding will be provided to programs in New Orleans and Denver that train new entrants to the workforce for jobs in the transit industry; vocational programs in Massachusetts and New Jersey that prepare high school and college students for careers in transit; leadership training programs in California, New York, Pennsylvania; and Ohio transit agencies, and a distance learning center in South Dakota targeted at rural transit agencies.
“With our transit systems growing in ridership and complexity, we must begin recruiting and training the skilled workforce to match the challenges of expansion and innovation,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “We must prepare for retirements and build a knowledgeable workforce that will ensure that our systems are safe, reliable, and desirable long into the future.”