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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis December 16, 2011
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Bridging the Gap: The Next Generation
BY CHERYL PYATT, APTA Program Manager-Program Management and Educational Services

Throughout 2011, APTA’s leadership and the Executive Committee have been actively encouraging career development and youth outreach initiatives in conjunction with the development and implementation of recommended initiatives of APTA’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Workforce Development. In response, the Program Management and Educational Services Department presented held key programs this year, both new events and ongoing activities.

National Transportation Career Day
APTA held its first APTA Public Transportation Career Day on April 22 to highlight a national workforce development initiative to introduce students, grades K-12, to the public transportation industry. More than 20 APTA member public transit systems and organizations participated in this event and reached out to more than 1,200 schoolchildren.

APTA’s Youth Summit: Generation Green on Board
Held at Trinity Washington University, the youth summit brought 50 junior and high school senior students from across the country to explore the environmental benefits of public transportation; how communities as a whole can prosper with increased services; the role local and federal policies play in public transit use; and career opportunities in the industry. The summit was sponsored by APTA, APTA business members (including AECOM, which conducted several programs), and the Federal Transit Administration. Students representing 17 states were given access to a dedicated Facebook page prior to the summit and provided with ideas for presentation topics which they worked on and presented to senior APTA staff on their last day. 

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff spoke to the students, who also toured the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s WMATA’s Carmen Turner facility.

Student Day at 2011 APTA Annual Meeting & EXPO
APTA provided a unique opportunity for students to network and interact with a variety of professionals within the industry. At the Annual Meeting & EXPO in New Orleans, APTA welcomed students from the New Orleans area community colleges, technical schools, and 4-year colleges and universities to get a first-hand introduction to public transportation. The program included an EXPO tour.

Promoting Transit Careers
APTA’s Marketing and Communications and Human Resources committees joined forces to produce a new YouTube video that speaks to the next generation workforce. The video features 20 Generation Y public transit staff members who are excited to tell their transit career story to the next generation workforce. APTA premiered the video in New Orleans.

BMBG Workforce Development Activities
To better understand what skills are needed related to the development of high-speed rail, APTA’s business members commissioned a survey of rail engineering curricula from key higher education programs in the U.S. and abroad to examine the differences between  U.S. transportation courses and international engineering programs.

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