The formation of the Institute and its workforce development strategies is based on the stated needs of the transit industry for qualified workers and for more successful models for pre-employment training that will maximize readiness and retention of workers once hired. The Institute will also provide training opportunities for incumbent workers seeking industry skill-maintenance and/or promotional opportunities.
The transportation industry, NAICS Code 48, has shown a strong upward trend in employment in CA since January 2010, and it has average projected growth of 18% by 2020, based on data collected by the state’s Employment Development Department (California Employment Development Department, 2014). There is substantial demand for new & replacement positions in the targeted occupations. As per data retrieved in October 2014, the percent change between 2010 and 2020 in transit related occupations range from 12% to 22%.
Data from the California Employment Development Department (2014) indicates the following job trends:
- Bus & Truck Mechanics + 14%
- Diesel Engine Specialists + 14%
- Rail Car Repairers + 20%
- Rail Operations Technicians + 22%
Based on this workforce training data, TWI seeks to fulfill a workforce training need by developing a Rail Systems Technology Program of Study in the region.
Based on “real-time” data from Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), current and short-term projections for the targeted occupations show job growth in the next three years; it is projected that in Los Angeles, there will be over 900 jobs available in the next three years, taking into consideration growth and replacements needed due to retirements and promotional opportunities of current workers (Economic Modeling Specialists International, 2014).
Metro, the major employer partner in the project, anticipates hiring over 200 Bus, Truck, Rail Mechanics and Diesel CNG/LNG, hybrid, electric vehicle Engine Specialists in the near future (California Employment Development Department, 2014).
Finding qualified candidates has been challenging for regional employers in the transit industry. While most regional transit companies have internal on-the–job training available, the burden of training employees with very low skills sets has made training cost prohibitive without external funds. LATTC scanned the knowledge, skill sets, and credentials/degrees necessary to prepare the target populations for job openings and upward career mobility in order to develop content to meet the needs of industry.