Innovative training program provides aspiring mechanics skills, opportunity
A group of aspiring bus mechanics will be put on track toward a full-time role at Metro Transit through a first-of-its-kind program that combines career training, education and on the-job experience.
Launching this fall, the Metro Transit Technician Program will provide participants college and career readiness training, support toward earning a degree and an internship with Metro Transit’s Bus Maintenance Department.
Metro Transit is leading the effort in coordination with Twin Cities R!SE and Hennepin Technical College. The Federal Transit Administration is supporting the effort with a $203,000 grant, part of a larger national effort to address a looming worker shortage in the transportation industry. More than half of Metro Transit bus mechanics are above the age of 50, mirroring a trend seen across the transit industry.
The Metro Transit Technician Program was promoted this year at area schools and a series of Employment Open Houses. Chosen from among hundreds of applicants, a group of 40 program participants will complete college and career readiness training this fall.
Promising candidates will be enrolled in a two-year associates degree program at Hennepin Technical College in fall 2016. While pursuing their degree, participants will complete internships at Metro Transit, gaining on-the-job experience while earning competitive wages. Full-time Mechanic-Technicians start at around $24 an hour.
“Economic disparities are increasing in our state, so this partnership comes at a critical time,” said Tom Streitz, President and CEO at Twin Cities R!SE. “Twin Cities R!SE is excited about the immense generational impact this program will have on participating individuals and their families.”
Merrill L. Irving Jr., Ed.D., President at Hennepin Technical College, also said the school looks forward to helping students on their way to successful careers. “HTC values degree and certificate programs that redefine the economic status of our communities and workforce,” Irving said. “This program supports the college’s mission while also creating high-wage career opportunities for students through advanced technical education.”
Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb said the program is an example of the agency's commitment to reducing barriers to opportunity. “Recruiting from all corners will help us address critical workforce needs,” he said. “But, more than that, we recognize everyone deserves a chance to achieve their full potential and want to actively participate in making opportunities available.”
To learn more about employment opportunities at Metro Transit visit metrotransit.org/jobs.