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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program— Building for Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22346.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program— Building for Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22346.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program— Building for Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22346.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program— Building for Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22346.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program— Building for Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22346.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program— Building for Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22346.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program— Building for Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22346.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program— Building for Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22346.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program— Building for Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22346.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program— Building for Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22346.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction and Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program— Building for Success. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22346.
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7 Introduction and Overview Meeting the challenge of developing fully qualified tran- sit rail car maintenance technicians is the goal of TCRP Proj- ect E-07, “Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program: Building for Success.” The best answer, fine-tuned by the research team working on this project, is a new multipart, industrywide system of qualification. This system brings together a broad range of training compo- nents including the following: • National training standards • Progressive classroom curriculum and courseware integrated with structured on-the-job learning • A credential management system that keeps track of the worker’s training experience and skills • Apprenticeship frameworks with well-designed sequences of learning, support of learners by trained mentors, and specialized training for instructors All these components provide the foundation needed for written and hands-on assessments to confirm that technicians have the practical knowledge and skills required to perform their jobs at the highest level of expertise. This new system is designed to apply fully to new hires, with incumbent workers “grandparented” to protect them from any harm from the transition to a new training system. Working together over the past 7 years on the critical occu- pation of rail car maintenance technicians, the subject matter experts (SMEs) on the National Rail Vehicle Training Standards Committee and on the TCRP Project E-07 panel have devel- oped the components of a highly efficient, cost-effective, and top-quality training system that can be applied throughout the industry for training on any skilled occupation. This system has been sponsored broadly by transit management and labor organizations in the industry and staffed by the Transportation Learning Center. This new system of qualification for transit rail car techni- cians is part of the transit industry’s broader project over the past dozen years to redesign and upgrade frontline workforce development, with a particular focus on technical mainte- nance occupations. In addition to addressing transit rail vehi- cle maintenance technicians, this larger effort has addressed four other technical occupations in rail and bus transit— maintenance technicians for transit elevator-escalator, signals and traction power on the rail side, and bus maintenance tech- nicians and bus operators on the bus side. Transit rail car maintenance technicians, as the largest group of maintenance technicians within the rapidly growing transit rail side of public transportation, provide an excellent focus for the in-depth development of transit rail’s system of qualification. Over a 5-year period, TCRP Project E-07 has allowed industry experts to develop in-depth training tools that go beyond what has been developed so far for other transit technical maintenance occupations—signals, transit elevator-escalator, and traction power on the rail side and bus maintenance technicians and operators on the bus side. Importantly, rail car technician training also benefits from related work undertaken by the industry to develop training systems based on quality standards through ongoing industry- wide training consortia for transit elevator-escalator and signals technicians. The Problem: Demographic Transitions, Industry Growth, and New Technology A world class system of qualification is needed because the industry is facing an unprecedented technical skills challenge. Demographic and technological change and growing demand for public transportation are creating a critical shortage of workforce skills. Among the industry’s most acute skills short- ages are those of frontline maintenance technicians in transit rail operations. The frontline skills challenge is driven by three factors: the pending retirements of many technicians who helped establish new rail transit systems, concentrated industry C H A P T E R 1

8growth in rail transit, and the growing prevalence of electronic and especially digital systems in rail transit. Among transit rail’s frontline technical occupations, rail car maintenance technicians are the largest group, with an esti- mated 6,200 employees across the industry. This large group provides a natural focus for this research. It should be remem- bered, of course, that other frontline occupations in transit rail are facing skills challenges that are just as severe, even though the workforces are not as large. Signals maintainers, traction power technicians, and transit elevator-escalator mechanics with top-quality skills are critical for passenger safety and reliable transit service. For 20 years, TCRP research has shown that skilled transit mechanics are the industry’s most difficult group to recruit (see Finegold, Robbins, and Galway 1998; McGlothin Davis and Corporate Strategies, Inc. 2002; and Special Report 275, 2003). There are few “feeder industries” that utilize transit’s specialized technology and thus can prepare workers for transit’s technical occupations; this is particularly true for transit rail car tech- nicians. In addition, baby boomer retirements are already hitting the industry. U.S. DOT estimates that 50 percent of the transportation workforce will be retiring in the next 10 years (DOT Workforce Summit 2012). Sixty-three percent of the transit workforce is currently age 45 or older, with 12 per- cent 65 or older. Retiring technical workers are those with the greatest experience and, in many cases, the highest effective skill levels. These workers will need to be replaced with fully qualified personnel. Rapid growth of the transit rail industry is heightening the technical skills challenge. The U.S. Department of Labor has projected that urban transit systems will expand their overall employment by 16 to 38 percent over the next 10 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics n.d.), and a large share of that increase will inevitably be on the rail side of public trans- portation. These new jobs will require high skill levels. The forecasted need to replace 50 percent of the transporta- tion workforce combined with 16 to 38 percent employment growth in the transit industry means that in the next 10 years a workforce of up to 88 percent of today’s total workforce will need to be hired and trained (see Figure 1). Transit rail is fac- ing an even steeper challenge, given the rapid growth in tran- sit rail—with ridership up 80 percent between 1996 and 2012 (see Figure 2) and new rail investments being made across the industry (APTA 2012). While retirements and industry growth are creating an increasingly urgent need to hire and qualify new technicians, rapid technological innovation is continually raising the bar Figure 1. Need to train equivalent of up to 88 percent of transit’s total staff in the next 10 years. Source: Transportation Learning Center, based on data from the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. DOT. Source: APTA. 0 500,000 20 00 20 01 20 02 20 03 19 96 19 97 19 98 19 99 20 04 20 05 20 06 20 07 20 08 20 09 20 10 20 11 20 12 1,000,000 1,500,000 2,000,000 2,500,000 3,000,000 3,500,000 4,000,000 4,500,000 U nl in ke d Pa ss en ge r T rip s Heavy and Light Rail Ridership Figure 2. Increase in transit rail ridership 1996–2012.

9 for the skills required of transit’s frontline technicians. In particular, there have been dramatic increases in technological content in virtually every area of transit rail vehicles. Digital subsystems, programmable logic controllers, and multiplexed sensors and controls have already driven the skill requirements of today’s frontline technicians far beyond what were needed 20 or even 10 years ago. Tomorrow’s skill requirements will certainly continue this trend toward higher knowledge and technical proficiency. Is the transit industry prepared for this massive workforce challenge? The honest answer is “No,” and that “No” is not just for the industry as a whole. In the research team’s engage- ment with transit agencies across the country, not a single one has said it is ready to hire and train a new skilled workforce on the scale and level of sophistication that will be required. The new system of qualification developed under TCRP Project E-07 is designed to meet this major workforce chal- lenge. The system will provide free access to a suite of training models and resources that will greatly increase the quality of transit training and skill while reducing the cost of that training. The system will also support a transition to a modern, high- performance, problem-solving culture in the transit industry, one that will build in continuous learning and continuous improvement in operations and maintenance. Inadequate Investment in Human Capital While many public transportation leaders have recognized the need for more and better training, inadequate resources have been invested to solve the problem. The industry’s invest- ment in training in general has been very low—one of the lowest among U.S. industries and far behind transit industries in other countries (see Figure 3). The transit industry’s legacy approach to technical training requires each transit agency to invent its own training system from the ground up, determining for themselves what tech- nicians need to know and be able to do, how to teach them, how best to develop training materials and systems, and then how to determine whether the needed skills have been mastered. Without a consistent or standardized approach, training has been developed and delivered by individual agencies from scratch, with little if any interaction from other transit sys- tems or the industry as a whole. One result of this go-it-alone approach to training is that although training costs for each custom-built program are high, the quality of training is low and the results are inconsistent across agencies. All of this has led transit systems to significantly under invest in workforce training. In fact, the transit industry currently spends less than 1 percent of its payroll on workforce training—one of the lowest levels of investment in workforce skills of any U.S. industry. The most recent survey results (prior to the 2008 recession) indicate that transit’s training investment falls between 0.66 and 0.88 percent of payroll (Transportation Learning Center 2010b). Transit’s human capital investment of less than 1 percent of payroll contrasts with an average among all U.S. industries of 2 percent of payroll invested in training. FHWA, noting the aging workforces and pending retirements in state depart- ments of transportation (DOTs) recommended that they spend 3 percent of payroll on training their workforces, even without the prospect of a growing number of employees. (For transit workforce investment to reach the 3 percent level recommended by FHWA, the industry would have to spend Source: Transportation Learning Center Figure 3. Transit lags in human capital investment.

10 an additional $266 million on training annually.) The most successful U.S. companies spend between 4 and 5 percent of payroll on training. The regional transit system in Paris, France (RATP) invests over 8 percent of payroll in training the work- force for its very safe and reliable transit system. One source of transit’s under investment in workforce skills, or human capital, is that federal policy in the transit industry has provided very limited support for transit workforce devel- opment (see Figure 4). Economists recognize human capital (durable workforce skills and knowledge) as a necessary match to physical capital— the industry’s equipment (trains and buses) and structures (tracks, bridges, and stations). Capital equipment (physical capital) cannot operate well, safely, or reliably without the ade- quate human capital that is developed by recruiting and train- ing a skilled workforce. The federal government invests about one thousand times as much in the transit industry’s physical capital as it does in transit human capital. (Or, conversely, federal investment in transit’s human capital investment is about 1⁄10 of 1 percent as much as its investment in physi- cal capital.) The shortfall in federal human capital investment is even more extreme when it comes to meeting the train- ing needs of transit’s frontline workforce. Eighty percent of the transit workforce—the frontline transit technicians who deliver and maintain public transportation services—have received less than 20 percent of the limited funds available for transit workforce training. On a per-employee basis, that’s less than 1⁄16 as much funding for training for these critical front- line technical employees as for white collar administrative staff. These imbalances make the need for a cost-effective system of technical training for transit’s frontline workforce all the more urgent. Transit Industry Initiatives to Build Effective Technical Training Systems Developing Industrywide Training Standards Over the past 10 years, the leadership of all the major stakeholders in the U.S. transit industry has come together to create a standards-based partnership solution to the industry’s technical skills challenge. APTA joined with the major transit labor unions—the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU)—and the leaders of over 40 different transit agencies and local unions to make this effort possible. This decade-long effort has been staffed and facilitated by the industry’s jointly governed nonprofit for frontline workforce training, the Transportation Learn- ing Center. The first step, begun in 2004 and continued through 2009 with critical financial support from the U. S. Departments of Labor and Transportation, was to develop consensus industry- wide training standards for five frontline technical transit occupations: • Signals • Traction power • Transit elevator-escalator • Rail car • Bus technicians For each of these frontline occupations, national joint train- ing standards committees and related efforts were developed with volunteer SMEs drawn from knowledgeable frontline technicians, supervisors, and trainers from across the indus- try. National training standards committees were established for each of the five occupations listed above, with senior co-chairs drawn from labor and management. For these five “founding” training standards committees and a later one for bus operator training standards, dozens of transit agencies and their local unions designated SMEs to help develop qual- ity national standards for transit technical training. For the first five technical occupations, the final training standards included 4,163 separate learning objectives in 728 modules and 132 courses (see Table 1 for breakdown). The training standard for rail vehicle maintenance tech- nicians reflected the complexity of modern transit rail cars. The classroom learning curriculum consists of 1,346 separate learning objectives in 42 courses and 177 modules that the Source: Transportation Learning Center $9.6 Billion Physical CapitalHuman Capital $12 Million Figure 4. Federal investment in transit human capital versus physical capital.

11 SMEs felt were necessary for a person to become a top-notch rail vehicle maintainer across the 11 fundamental systems on rail vehicles, along with prerequisite fundamental skills and advanced diagnosis and troubleshooting (see Table 2). The jointly developed training standards for rail car tech- nicians and the other four original technical occupations were completed by 2009. All five were reviewed and formally adopted as recommended practices for the transit industry as part of the APTA standards process in 2010. Building on Training Standards to Develop Complete Technical Training Systems Important as they are, industrywide training standards themselves cannot be used to deliver training. The standards identify detailed learning objectives and curricula designs that describe course and module content, but they don’t detail how training should be delivered. What training stan- dards do provide is the needed foundation for developing a common framework for training and for training materials that can be customized by agencies and training programs for use with particular fleets and equipment as well as for specific local practices for main tenance, career ladder advancement, and training. Rail car maintenance technician was the first of three tran- sit rail technical occupations that have made major progress on developing standards-based training systems since the new training standards were first developed (2006–2008). TCRP Project E-07, starting in 2008, has enabled the industry’s rail vehicle training stakeholders to take the lead as the first of these standards-based initiatives, building on the new training standards to develop systems of standards-based training or, more broadly, qualification. Each of these early initiatives has followed its own path: Transit stakeholders for transit elevator- escalator maintenance technicians (starting in 2010) and sig- nals technicians (starting in 2013) have developed industrywide training development consortia co-funded by member agencies and unions with partial match funding from the FTA. TCRP Project E-07, assisted by the larger National Rail Vehicle Train- ing Standards Committee, has been able to frame out a com- prehensive approach to a system of qualification programs that addresses standards-based training not only for rail vehicle technicians, but the full range of transit’s frontline blue-collar occupations. The research conducted under TCRP Project E-07 has helped establish the design of a comprehensive, shared Maintenance Occupations Courses Modules Learning Objectives Bus Technician 7 186 1,551 Rail Car 42 177 1,346 Rail Signals 27 86 467 Traction Power 17 36 232 Transit Elevator/Escalator 39 243 567 Total 132 728 4,163 Table 1. Transit training standards. Topic Area Courses Modules Learning Objectives Fundamental Skills 17 70 478 1. Couplers 2 7 68 2. Trucks & Axles 2 17 211 3. Propulsion & Dynamic Braking 2 5 91 4. Auxiliary Inverters & Batteries 2 9 34 5. Friction Brakes 2 11 82 6. Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning (HVAC) 2 14 80 7. Current Collection & Distribution 2 11 54 8. Car Body 2 7 64 9. Doors 2 5 39 10. Communication Systems 2 6 67 11. Computer-Based Train Control (CBTC)— Automatic Train Protection (ATP), Automatic Train Operation (ATO) 2 8 52 12. Diagnostics and Troubleshooting 3 7 26 Total 42 177 1,346 Table 2. Rail car technician training standards.

12 framework for qualification that will strengthen all transit technical training systems going forward. Each of these three early initiatives for developing systems of transit rail training have followed the same framework for consistent, high-quality occupational training that has been developed under TCRP Project E-07. The TCRP Project E-07 research team examined successful nationwide training pro- grams for frontline blue-collar workers in other U.S. industries and in other countries. (See Appendix B to the contractor’s final report. Appendix B: Building Capacity for Transit Training: International and Domestic Comparisons can be found by searching for TCRP Report 170 on the TRB website.) These suc- cessful systems of training—or more broadly, qualification— have a number of critical features. They integrate classroom and on-the-job learning, and technicians advance through the system of learning through progressive stages of hands-on and classroom learning (See Figure 5). With specialized content and support systems being devel- oped by joint committees of SMEs, this general framework is currently under development not only for rail vehicle tech- nicians but also for training in all transit frontline technical occupations. From Training to Qualification Systems As the TCRP Project E-07 panel and National Rail Vehicle Training Standards Committee deepened their understanding of what constitutes quality training, they came to identify a number of critical components of a system of qualification. Taken together, these components constitute much more than “training” as that term is ordinarily used. In fact, they make up what most other countries identify as a “system of qualifica- tion,” as shown in Figure 6. Figure 6 shows how the standards-based qualification sys- tem is built up of interconnected components developed by industrywide SME stakeholder experts. The national qualifi- cation system provides resources for customized implementa- tion at the local level. National training standards provide the foundation for developing the entire system of qualification. Standards-based curriculum and courseware are developed for classroom training, which is in turn integrated with on- the-job learning objectives fine-tuned to local equipment, job classifications, and practices. Specific training for trainers and mentors is developed so that they can effectively support learners at all levels. A national credential management system can track the training of industry technicians and confirm that they are prepared to validate the skills that they have developed. To ensure the success of the new system, incumbent techni- cians are exempt from new training requirements through the standard process of “grandparenting.” Even as incumbents are engaged in new and better training, they are not required to pass through all the parts of the new systems being imple- mented for new hires. Tying all these pieces together is a national framework of apprenticeship—developed by indus- try stakeholders and registered with the U.S. Department of Labor—that provides ongoing consistency and a path to future college credit for the learning accomplished through the system of qualification. Figure 6 also shows how the national qualification frame- work provides resources to support customized local imple- mentation. Each agency needs a training system that matches its own specific fleet equipment, job classifications, and pro- motion systems. The national qualification system is designed to ensure quality and consistency in workforce qualification efforts that have been optimized for the particular conditions in each location. With national qualification frameworks and Figure 5. Standards-based qualification system.

13 resources developed by SME committees for each occupation, each transit agency can access quality materials for this pro- gression of classroom and on-the-job learning and customize them for their specific equipment and practices, including job classifications and progressions. Transit agencies can also uti- lize specific train-the-trainer and mentor training resources for each occupation. Individual locations are no longer left on their own to develop everything they need for quality training. This interaction between national resources and local imple- mentation is a two-way street. Broad local participation is what confers validity on national standards and resources, while local customization of national systems provides con- sistent, high-quality training at a greatly reduced cost. The goals of these training systems across all the occupa- tions are similar: developing consistently strong workforce skills for high-performance and maintenance operations (Finegold, Robbins, and Galway 1998). Attainment of these goals should translate into increased skills, increased safety and reliability of equipment and service, a better state-of-good- repair, reduced risk and costs, and a substantially positive return on the agency’s and industry’s investment in developing human capital. Balanced participation by both managers and frontline workers—frontline technicians, training department staff, and maintenance supervisory personnel—is the best way to ensure that the products developed by the SME group accurately reflect industry needs, best practices, and expertise. Working together in this way also ensures that all stakeholders have an interest in the success of the project. All parties jointly “own” the final products at both the national and the local level. In this process of developing standards-based transit qualification systems, union and management representatives have worked together as fully productive partners. The National Rail Vehicle Training Standards Committee and TCRP Project E-07: Developing a National Qualification System for Rail Car Maintenance Technicians The National Rail Vehicle Training Standards Committee was the forerunner to and later an advisory partner to the TCRP Project E-07 panel. The project panel, like the National Rail Vehicle Training Standards Committee, included an equal number of agency managers and frontline union workers. In an industry where more than 90 percent of the frontline work- ers are represented by unions and frontline workers make up 80 percent of the industry’s workforce, frontline workers are natural stakeholders who are recognized as full partners in developing the system of qualification. Figure 6. National and local qualification system.

14 Once established, the TCRP Project E-07 panel worked closely with the National Rail Vehicle Training Standards Committee to further refine and implement the E-07 work plan. (See Appendix C of the contractor’s final report. Appen- dix C: TCRP E-07 Multiyear Work Plan can be found by searching for TCRP Report 170 on the TRB website.) Over the course of 5 years, the project produced a comprehensive qualification system, including a nationally recognized appren- ticeship for transit rail car maintenance technicians, approved by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2013. The research team also looked into a set of related topics, including how high- quality, skills training is reliably developed through industry- wide programs in other countries and other industries. The resulting report is included as Appendix B of the contractor’s final report (available by searching for TCRP Report 170 on the TRB website). Appendix B: Building Capacity for Transit Training: International and Domestic Comparisons includes case profiles of national frameworks for industry training in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, as well as case profiles for the U.S. building and construction crafts. The research team and project panel ultimately developed a comprehensive, integrated system for the qualification of rail car technicians. The work drew on best practices in other industries with successful, long-lasting, institutionalized national programs for qualification of frontline technical workers. The new system of qualification is designed to be economically self-sustaining within a broader framework of training systems addressing multiple occupations within the transit industry. The rail car system of qualification developed under TCRP Project E-07 is not yet complete. As shown in Figure 7, some components are only partially developed at this point. As Figure 7 shows, more work is needed on advanced courseware development, a specific train-the-trainer pro- gram for rail vehicle instructors, and specifying the details of on-the-job learning goals and sequences for technician training. These areas of future work for training rail car Figure 7. National and local qualification system for rail vehicle technicians.

15 technicians, fortunately, are being developed in parallel initia- tives through the industrywide transit rail training consortia for signals and elevator-escalator maintenance. Future efforts in rail car training should therefore move more quickly and efficiently. Conversely, the in-depth work conducted under TCRP Project E-07 has developed a number of components for the rail car system of qualification that are also directly applicable to qualification systems for other transit technical occupations. In particular, the work on mentor training, the development of hands-on skill assessments, the integration of the overall system of qualification, and, in particular, the national creden- tial management systems are all available to advance the devel- opment of qualification systems in other technical occupations in transit. Research conducted under TCRP Project E-07 has not only benefited the rail car maintenance qualification pro- gram, it has also contributed to developing a national system for training highly qualified frontline technicians in all public transportation technical occupations. Next Steps Implementation of the System of Qualification for Rail Car Technicians The next major step for the rail car technician system of qualification will be to promote and support implementation of TCRP Project E-07’s standards-based qualification broadly within the transit rail industry. All the transit rail agencies participating in the TCRP Project E-07 panel or the National Rail Vehicle Training Standards Committee have already taken steps toward implementing major parts of the qualification system. Implementation in the industry needs to be broadened and deepened. As of late 2013, there are at least six medium-sized and large transit systems with a commitment to formal imple- mentation of the rail car technician qualification framework (see Chapters 4 and 5). An early step for these agencies will be the formal registration of their new or existing rail car appren- ticeship programs under the framework developed through this project and formally recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor in June 2013. The new U.S. Department of Labor framework includes coordinated classroom and hands-on learning, local joint apprenticeship and training commit- tees, mentoring, and other elements of the overall system of qualification. Other locations may move forward in partial steps by implementing different parts of the qualification framework. Further momentum in implementing the standards-based system of qualification will be gained by engaging transit agencies and transit labor in organizing a transit rail car training consortium as first discussed among transit leaders in late 2013. With a similar structure to the existing elevator- escalator and signals training consortia, the proposed transit rail car consortium will fill in the remaining blanks in the system, with a focus on an instructor training course and further courseware development that will prepare instructors to use the curriculum, classroom courseware, and on-the-job- learning modules. In the longer term, the complete transit rail car system of qualification will be integrated into a broader framework of standards-based systems of qualification across all the techni- cal occupations. Developing a Comprehensive System of Training across all Technical Occupations With development of comprehensive national systems of qualification underway for three critical technical occupations, the industry is within sight of developing a complete system of technical training resources that can be used throughout the industry for more effective training. The immediate next steps will be to extend the transit training consortium model to completing the qualification system for rail vehicle techni- cians and then to work toward new consortia for rail traction power systems and for bus maintenance, the other technical occupations for which national training standards have already been developed (see Figure 8). Important elements still to be addressed for rail car tech- nicians can be adapted from related tools already developed through the Transit Elevator-Escalator Training Consortium started in 2010 and being further developed through other related projects, including the industrywide Signals Training Consortium. The traction power industrywide training standards were developed by the Traction Power Training Standards Com- mittee between 2006 and 2009 and adopted as recommended practices by APTA in 2010. Traction power is necessary for reliable service and safety, and it is an area of critical skill shortages in the industry, with many transit rail agencies having a large number of vacancies that they cannot fill. With the continuing rapid growth of transit rail ridership, the industry has no alternative but to develop its own supply of skilled technicians for these jobs. The need for a system of qualification for transit bus main- tenance technicians is arguably even more urgent than tran- sit’s training needs on the rail side. Most of transit’s existing training capacity is concentrated in larger agencies, and the larger agencies (with few exceptions) include rail as well as bus transportation. Training capacity is generally very lim- ited in medium-sized transit agencies—almost exclusively bus transit agencies—and almost no training capacity exists in smaller bus transit agencies and paratransit services. APTA

National Training Standards/ National Training Committee Elevator-Escalator National Apprenticeship (and College Credit) National Skill Validation (Hands-On & Written) National Credential Management System National Mentor Training National Framework for On- the-Job Learning National Train the Trainer Standards-Based National Courseware National Training Consortium Curriculum (2006-2010) 2010 Chart Legend: National Framework for On- National Train the Trainer Standards-Based National National Training Consortium National Training Standards/ National Training Committee Signals National Apprenticeship (and College Credit) National Skilll Validation (Hands-On & Written) National Credential Management System National Mentor Training the-Job Learning Courseware Curriculum (2006-2010) 2013 Fully Developed Naonal Training Consorum Start Dates National Apprenticeship (and College Credit) National Skill Validation (Hands-On & Written) Management System National Mentor Training National Framework for On- National Train the Trainer Standards-Based National National Training Consortium National Training Standards/ Curriculum (2006-2010) National Training Committee/ E-07 Panel (2008-2014) Rail Vehicle National Credential the-Job Learning Courseware 2014 Under Development Traction Power National Apprenticeship (and College Credit) National Skill Validation (Hands-On & Written) National Credential Management System National Mentor Training National Framework for On- the-Job Learning National Train the Trainer Standards-Based National National Training Consortium National Training Standards/ Curriculum (2006-2010) National Training Committee Pending/Future Work Courseware Pending Bus Maintenance National Apprenticeship (and College Credit) National Skill Validation (Written Only - ASE) National Credential Management System National Mentor Training National Framework for On- the-Job Learning National Train the Trainer Standards-Based National Courseware National Training Consortium National Training Standards/ Curriculum (2004-2010) National Training Committee Pending Figure 8. Status of national qualification system development across transit technical occupations.

17 adopted recommended practices for training bus maintenance technicians in their standards process in 2010, alongside the rail training standards. Nonetheless, the rest of a full system of qualification for bus technicians remains undeveloped, with the notable exception of written tests for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) transit bus technician certification system. A bus training consortium developed on the model of the training consortia for rail technical occupations would provide important benefits to the industry and the riding public. There are additional technical occupations whose training needs have yet to be addressed. Developing training standards and then standards-based systems of training/qualification for track workers and facilities maintenance technicians, two important occupations in rail transit, would help complete a full system of transit rail workforce qualification.

Next: Chapter 2 - The Framework of Effective Rail Car Technician Training »
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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Report 170: Establishing a National Transit Industry Rail Vehicle Technician Qualification Program—Building for Success describes a system of qualification that has been developed for rail vehicle technicians. This qualification system is available for implementation through the Transportation Learning Center.

The program integrates national training standards, progressive classroom curricula and introductory courseware, on-the-job learning modules, an apprenticeship framework that combines well-designed sequences of learning, mentoring to support learners, and coordination of classroom and on-the-job learning. The qualification system also includes written and hands-on certification assessments to confirm that technicians have the practical knowledge and skills required to perform their jobs at the highest level of expertise.

Supplemental information to the report is found in Appendices A-D and Appendices E-P.

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