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Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit (2020)

Chapter:Chapter 4 - Case Examples

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25741.
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28 This chapter provides a selection of case examples that highlight the strategies agencies are using to attract, retain, and develop or advance women within their organization. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Large Transit Agency Strategies Used Agency Demographics Transit Career Ladders Program Leadership Academy Rail transit Approximately 4,000 employees San Francisco Bay Area, CA Strategy 1: Transit Career Ladders Program Overview of Strategy Use Historically, this transit agency has had difficulty in recruiting women into jobs in the skilled trade classifications, such as electricians. The agency has made previous attempts to increase the number of women in these positions. For example, they have reached out to local colleges and school dis- tricts to recruit for these jobs and have included currently employed women in outreach and career discussion panels, but additional effort is needed to recruit more women into the skilled trade classi- fications. However, the representation of women in these positions has remained low and the agency recognizes that it can do better in terms of working to recruit women and bring them into these jobs. Based on the low representation of women in three separate skilled trade classifications, train control electronic technician, transit vehicle electronic technician, and electrician were selected as the focus of the Transit Career Ladders Program (TCLT). The TCLT was created to help individuals develop knowledge and skills that applicants to the transit agency’s electrician and electronic posi- tions need by using existing certification programs at local community colleges. Through a FTA grant, and working with community partners, a model to screen applicants was developed and used to help maintain the representation of women throughout the application and training processes. Implementation Information Planning and Implementation Process Once the transit agency determined that this type of program would be appropriate to pursue through the FTA grant, they worked to get general manager and executive team support from the C H A P T E R 4 Case Examples

Case Examples 29 beginning of the planning process. During the planning process, the transit agency worked to make connections with the various colleges in the area so that they understood the program and were ready to begin working in partnership with the transit agency to implement the Transit Career Ladders Program. Six Bay Area community colleges were identified as part- ners. Additionally, planning involved working with Bay Area workforce investment boards, one-stop career centers, and the NOVA Workforce Consortium. These groups helped to share the word about the program with the community and ultimately increased the number of applicants to the program. The Transit Career Ladders Program involves an 18-month college curriculum offered at six local community colleges. Typically, the transit agency has advertised open jobs on their website; however, to ensure a diverse audience was aware of the Transit Career Ladders Program the transit agency determined it was necessary to advertise in new ways. As such, they advertised on the display monitors in train stations. Additionally, they worked with the participating colleges to promote enrollment and had the workforce development boards promote the opportunity through their networks. When reviewing applicants to the program, approximately 25% of those who applied were women. The participating colleges were pleased with both the gender and ethnic diversity of program applicants, and ultimately with the program participants. As part of the FTA grant, the transit agency worked to maintain this representation throughout the enrollment and educa- tion process. One means to do this was by offering a 6-week academic bridge program to appli- cants who needed additional support in math skills and college readiness prior to beginning the program. This academic bridge program was able to provide women with needed support and knowledge so that they could be successful in the program. During the Transit Career Ladders Program, it was helpful for the students to meet actual transit agency employees and to get to know these staff on a more personal level. This was accomplished through a field trip, in which program students came on-site to the transit agency to see the work that is done in the types of jobs they were preparing for. During these visits, the transit agency made sure to request that women members of the staff were available to speak to students and share their experiences. This way, the Transit Career Ladders Program participants, and especially the women enrolled in the program, were able to see women working in the area of their target jobs. Necessary Resources The existing relationships that the community colleges and workforce development boards brought were invaluable as they already had a way to interact with and share information with the community. Additionally, the transit agency provided training and support to these partners to ensure that people could effectively apply to the program and jobs and that all partners had accurate information. The key players were six local community college partners, local workforce development boards, transit agency HR staff, along with support from general managers and agency executives. Greatest Challenges Encountered This program was the first large-scale collaboration between the transit agency and its com- munity college partners. Because there were multiple partners collaborating on a large program, communication can be difficult. The transit agency learned that it was helpful to have one point of contact for all of the colleges and one point of contact for the workforce development boards, and then to ask each partner to have a single point of contact as well. This helped to bring con- sensus, streamline information sharing, and make sure that all necessary communication could occur in an effective manner.

30 Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit Impacts to the Transit Agency The Transit Career Ladders Program has been successful in preparing women for careers in the electronic and electrician classifications for the transit agency. In fact, one of the first hires out of the program was a female train control electrician. As of March 2019, 73 students received one or more electrical or electronic college certificates and 43 program hires, promo- tions, or job offers were issued to program participants. Of these program hires and offers, 21% of offers were extended to women. Developing partnerships with various agencies and education providers has helped the transit agency to be savvy in how they recruit new employees. They learned it is necessary to move beyond just presenting job opportunities on the website if they want to appeal to a wider, diverse audience. Additionally, the partnerships have allowed the transit agency to tap into new employee sources that have helped to diversity the applicant pool. Strategy 2: Leadership Academy Overview of Strategy Use BART recognized they wanted to better develop future executive leaders for their agency, so they created an internal leadership academy aimed at mid- to senior-level managers within the organization. While this program was not designed to focus on women or to have specific targets for women participants, women are well represented in the program, with more than half participation. Part of the reason for this representation of women may be that the agency has historically had women in key leadership roles, which creates a culture that permeates throughout the organization that women are capable of serving as leaders. However, there was no specific recruitment and purposeful action for getting women into the transit agency’s leadership academy. Implementation Information Planning and Implementation Process BART developed this leadership academy as a way to help mid- to senior-level managers acquire new skills, expand their network, build organizational relationships, and prepare for advancement. As such, the transit agency worked to develop a curriculum and collaborated with Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) faculty to provide information and opportunities to develop future leaders. Each cohort of the leadership academy is limited to 15 participants; as such, employees apply to the program and agency executive leaders select the final cohort of participants. Through the leadership of the academy, learning occurred not only in the MTI and BART classrooms but also through team building exercises, field trips, networking events, job shadowing, and leadership coaching. During the leadership academy, participants also worked with a group to research and present current key challenges currently faced by the orga- nization; executive management prior to the beginning of the program selected these topics. The necessary resources are a partnership with MTI faculty and time for participation (1 full day per month for participants). The key players are executive leadership and program develop- ers and instructors. The Impacts to the Transit Agency Participants in the leadership academy were a good cross section of BART operating and administrative departments, and 100% of the program participants completed the program.

Case Examples 31 Leadership academy participants were able to engage with current transit agency leaders and receive opportunities to highlight themselves and their skills. To do this, participants were assigned priority topics facing the agency (e.g., quality of life, absenteeism, or formal mentor- ship program), and they needed to research the topic and present the challenge and their solu- tions to leadership. This exercise allowed the women in the program to shine and to prepare themselves for future leadership roles within the agency. Again, this was not a strategy that was planned to focus on women, but the advancement and visibility of women through the program were additional benefits. Additionally, although it was not a planned part of the program, women in the leadership academy were able to connect with other women within the transit agency. They have con- tinued to meet and support one another in their careers. This connection and support will be key elements to retaining these capable women and encouraging their advancement within the agency. LA County Metro Large Transit Agency Strategies Used Agency Demographics Women & Girls Governing Council Hiring and Pay Initiatives Leadership Academy Girls in Transit Summit Programs and Efforts to Support Women Employees Light rail, bus, heavy rail, mobility transit Approximately 11,000 employees Los Angeles County, CA Strategy 1: Women & Girls Governing Council Overview of Strategy Use The Women & Girls Governing Council is committed to assessing policies and prac- tices through a gender lens to advance progress toward gender equality in the workplace by removing barriers and encouraging inclusion. With 47% of Metro’s riders being women, the council brings together 60 women and men with the goal of identifying solutions to reduce transportation challenges for women and girls to get to jobs, school, health care, or childcare locations and to address women’s transit safety needs. Additionally, the council is focused on Metro’s investing in equitable economic growth and in providing access to trans- portation careers and contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses. Implementation Information Planning and Implementation Process Established in 2017, this group meets on a monthly basis for 1 year. Once annually the group makes recommendations to the transit agency chief executive officer (CEO) regarding potential initiatives related to gender that could be implemented within the agency in order to address gender policy. If the CEO approves the initiatives, LA Metro and the Governing Council work with partner agencies to implement and apply the new initiatives. In the next year, a new cohort of council members will begin meeting to discuss and develop new ideas for gender policy initiatives. The necessary resources are time outside of regular job duties to meet and be involved and a budget to implement the initiatives. The key players are council members, support from the CEO, and partner agencies.

32 Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit Greatest Challenges Encountered This strategy has encountered no significant challenges. The Impacts to the Transit Agency Since its inception, the Women & Girls Governing Council has developed several initiatives and, in February 2018, the CEO approved seven of the recommendations that the first Women & Girls Governing Council cohort developed. Then in September of the same year, the CEO approved two additional recommendations to make nine new recommendations to be implemented based on input from the Governing Council. These recommendations include the following: 1. CEO Action Plan for Diversity and Inclusion: Provide guidance to the agency to foster an inclusive working environment. 2. Understanding How Women Travel: Gather and analyze data by gender to understand dif- ferent mobility needs for men and women. 3. Promoting the Advancement of Women: Publicize promotion of women on the Women & Girls Governing Council website and foster internal mentoring. 4. Breaking Down Barriers for the Service Attendant Position: Create a career pathway for mechanics to eliminate gender bias for this entry-level position with a low number of women. 5. Girls’ Empowerment Summit: Educate girls about career opportunities and promote career pathways by hosting high school girls at a 1-day summit. 6. Bringing “The Voice” to Metro with Blind Screening: Build trust in the hiring process and increase diversity by reducing implicit biases when screening candidates for interviews. 7. Crushing the 29% with an Employer Brand Strategy: Increase the gender workforce ratio by attracting, retaining, and advancing women by showing women that Metro, which currently has 29% women in its workforce, is making their career success a priority. 8. Reporting Matters—Sexual Harassment Prevention: Implement an effective reporting, reviewing, and responding process to reduce or prevent sexual harassment. 9. Building a Ladder—Women in Construction Management Support Services: Increase the number of women in construction management positions by monitoring numbers and help- ing women learn about apprenticeship positions Strategy 2: Hiring and Pay Initiatives Overview of Strategy Use As of the writing of this report, only 29.6% of LA Metro’s employees are women. A num- ber of initiatives related to hiring and pay equality for women are currently under way within LA Metro to increase this percentage. Many of these initiatives fall into the overall strategy of focusing on creating opportunities and equality for women in transit agency jobs. These initiatives include the following: • Reviewing job specifications and qualifications. LA Metro is updating job specifications to remove gender bias. Specifically, minimum qualifications have been removed for jobs such as cleaning or custodial work and service attendants, because these minimum qualifications may have been creating a barrier to employment for women. The service attendant job is a gateway to other job opportunities within the organization, so removing those minimum require- ments barriers was seen as a way to increase the number of women who could be employed in these positions. Additionally, LA Metro has been looking for ways to recruit more women into open jobs. For example, they have considered how they can find more hotel housekeepers who may be interested in cleaning jobs at LA Metro. To do this, the minimum qualifications for the jobs cannot exclude this potential source of employees.

Case Examples 33 • Blind screenings of applicants. LA Metro incorporated a pilot of blind screening for job applicants. Through this effort, they are working to determine if there is a hiring bias in the agency. With this applicant blind screening, applicants are given a number that does not indicate their name or gender. Applicant scores are then determined based on qualifications of the applicant, without including any personal demographics. • Pay equity studies. Within this transit agency, salaries are developed based on the work that employees are doing. Each year, LA Metro reviews noncontract employee experiences to ensure that the agency is aligned in terms of pay. With these studies, employee names and gender are not included, so the review is solely based on experiences and qualifications. Implementation Information Planning and Implementation Process • Reviewing job specifications and qualifications. A steering committee is responsible for updating the job specifications and qualifications for each job within LA Metro. This com- mittee involves members from each leadership team. The committee will roll out new job specifications and qualifications once the update is complete. • Blind screenings of applicants. This initiative is a current pilot study, in which job applica- tions are reviewed without the reviewers having access to applicant demographic information. All identifying information is removed from the application materials that are reviewed. • Pay equity studies. Alignment studies are conducted annually for noncontract employees. The necessary resources are current job descriptions and an understanding of what is truly necessary as a minimum qualification for various LA Metro jobs, along with time to dedicate to these initiatives. The key players are HR employees with expertise in job descriptions, com- pensation, and other relevant HR areas and steering committee members (i.e., agency leaders). Greatest Challenges Encountered Implementing change is difficult and employees are resistant at first. This is even true for these types of hiring initiatives that will not affect talent or current employees but will rather enhance the talent and potentially expand the workforce for the organization. The Impacts to the Transit Agency LA Metro has seen positive impacts from its efforts related to hiring and pay initiatives. Specifically, a positive outcome related to reviewing job specifications and qualifications for the service attendant job is that in 1 year after implementation of this effort, 30 women were hired into the job compared with only three women hired in the previous 3 years. Regarding the blind screening of applicants, this initiative is in the pilot phase. As such, the ultimate impact is not yet known. However, results of the pilot will indicate to LA Metro leader- ship if problems with bias in hiring do exist within the agency. Once this information is known, efforts to correct the bias can be implemented as needed. Strategy 3: Leadership Academy Overview of Strategy Use As a means to retain and advance employees within the organization, the leadership academy is an annual program offered by LA Metro. This program is offered in cooperation with a local

34 Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit community college and teaches leadership skills to 40 candidates during each yearlong session, providing these candidates with the knowledge and skills necessary to be prepared and competi- tive for future promotions. While this program has not been designed specifically for women, women make up 50% of the program’s participation each year. Implementation Information Planning and Implementation Process There is a 1-month application period for the leadership academy. Applicants must answer questions and gather a letter of support to participate from both their supervisor and an executive officer. There is a blind review of applications for the program, and 60 employ- ees are selected for interviews with transit agency senior leadership. Following the interviews, 40 individuals are chosen to participate in the leadership academy. The necessary resources are program application and blind review criteria, time outside regu- lar job duties to meet and be involved, and a budget to implement. The key players are executive leaders and leadership academy staff and instructors. Greatest Challenges Encountered In the past, employees who were not senior level experienced issues with the program. As a result, there are now more senior-level employees who apply for the program and few individuals at lower levels. The Impacts to the Transit Agency The leadership academy has provided participants with valuable skills and knowledge regarding how to advance one’s career within the transit agency. Women who have partici- pated in the program have better opportunities and experiences related to advancement. For example, the woman who was appointed as the chief communications officer previously par- ticipated in the leadership academy. Approximately 30% of leadership academy graduates have been promoted within the organization. Strategy 4: Girls in Transit Summit Overview of Strategy Use In addition to LA Metro’s already low representation of women within the organization, it is estimated that Metro will be adding more than 700,000 jobs throughout Los Angeles County based on future funding and initiatives. Because of this expected job growth, it is vital that women and girls are informed of the careers within the transportation industry. The Girls in Transit Summit exposes local youth to transit careers and helps close the job disparity between men and women, by providing information to girls and emphasizing that they can choose a career pathway often considered “nontraditional” for women. During this half-day event, local girls in junior and senior high school are invited to learn about various pathways into the transportation career field and career opportunities within LA Metro and the transportation industry in general. Girls have the opportunity to see and speak to successful women professionals in various careers across the industry. The first Girls in Transit Summit was held in March 2019, with approximately 200 students attend- ing the event.

Case Examples 35 Implementation Information Planning and Implementation Process To pull together the Girls in Transit Summit, LA Metro coordinated with Los Angeles County. The county has a girls’ initiative, and as such was a valued strategic partner that could support recruitment of participants and outreach to women in junior and senior high schools in the local community. Additional collaborators to plan and implement the event included several departments within LA Metro, as well as outside agency partners. The Girls in Transit Summit was a group effort, and all partners were helpful in deploying the event. The necessary resources were time and budget to host the event and partnership with Los Angeles County and other external agencies to coordinate outreach to students. The key players were local schools, Los Angeles County Women and Girls Initiative, Los Angeles Promise Fund, other external partners, support from the CEO, and women employees of LA Metro. Greatest Challenges Encountered During the first year of implementation for this strategy, there were no significant challenges. The Impacts to the Transit Agency This event helps to expose young women to the transit industry and to LA Metro. Because the strategy was recently implemented, long-term impacts to the agency cannot yet be seen. How- ever, student participants were surveyed after the event and had positive reactions to the Girls in Transit Summit. Due to this success, the CEO has committed to the Girls in Transit Summit event reoccurring on an annual basis. Strategy 5: Programs and Efforts to Support Women Employees Overview of Strategy Use LA Metro also facilitates other programs and efforts designed to support and encourage women in their workforce. The goal of these efforts is to retain and further advance women across the agency by supporting them in specific ways that women need. These programs and efforts include the following: • Posts on internal women and girls website/Website updates. LA Metro publishes promo- tions of women every week as a way to encourage women within the organization. They also update their website to ensure that the organization is using language to attract women. • Return to work program. The organization is looking into a return-to-work program to sup- port individuals who have taken a break from the work force, such as women who have taken time off from work to care for their families or children. This program will help these individuals to get an internship and will start increasing the representation of women within the agency. This may also include a women’s career fair to support those who are returning to work. • Support employees as they return from being out of the transit agency. Operators within LA Metro indicated that they did not feel as if they had support from the organization when they returned from taking time off to be a parent. • Win LA Initiative. This initiative ensures that the organization has women and minority contractors winning work for LA Metro. This further helps to support women and show that diversity is valued.

36 Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit Implementation Information Planning and Implementation Process • Posts on internal women and girls’ websites/Website updates. LA Metro is in the final stage of updating its website to make transportation more appealing to women. This includes creating entry-level career pathways that women can see themselves in, sharing benefits on the website, and ensuring that it includes photos of women. • Support employees as they return from being out of the transit agency. LA Metro is working to ensure that all individuals have the support and resources that they need when returning to work (e.g., lactation rooms). The necessary resources are time to dedicate to initiatives and a budget to implement changes (e.g., to the website or to physical workspaces). The key player is support from senior leadership and the CEO. Greatest Challenges Encountered The greatest challenge for efforts within this strategy has been getting buy in from senior leadership and the CEO. This challenge, however, was overcome once leaders were able to see the positive results from the initiatives and pilot efforts. The Impacts to the Transit Agency LA County Metro has seen a slight increase in the recruitment and retention of women. The percentage of women employed in the organization has increased from 29% to 29.6%. Although this is a small increase, it is a sign that the initiatives they are implementing are beginning to bring about positive results. SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) Large Transit Agency Strategies Used Agency Demographics Women Building SEPTA—Trades and Technical Career Fair Women in Transit (SEPTA) Group Rail, bus, trolley, subway 9,600 employees In and around Philadelphia, PA Strategy 1: Women Building SEPTA— Trades and Technical Career Fair Overview of Strategy Use At SEPTA, women represent about 2% of the staff, so the purpose of this career fair is to attract women to the trade and technical industries. Many women who attend this event do not know that transit careers are an opportunity for women, that SEPTA hires women, and that women can do these jobs. For this career fair, women are invited to SEPTA headquarters for a 1-day indoctrination into the trade. Current SEPTA employees share their experiences, managers discuss careers at SEPTA, and two to three women guest speakers encourage and motivate women to enter the trade industry. This event is also for individuals who may not have a skilled trade background but who have an interest. To support these individuals, representa- tives from local schools are at the event to discuss opportunities.

Case Examples 37 Implementation Information Planning and Implementation Process The career fair has occurred for 4 years, and the 1-day event takes approximately 6 months to plan. Both men and women are invited to attend, and interested individuals register for the event online by submitting their application. They can view and read about current job open- ings that SEPTA is looking to discuss and for which SEPTA wants to identify potential employees. SEPTA utilizes its relationships with local technical and trade schools to advertise to current students, promotes the career fair on every SEPTA website, and advertises on local news channels. The necessary resources are time and a budget to host the event, channels to advertise the career fair, and having relationships with local training and technical schools for interaction and sharing information. The key players are current female SEPTA employees, SEPTA Recruitment Department, local technical and training schools, and support from the general manager and agency executives. Greatest Challenges Encountered Women have a lack of knowledge and are not aware of the opportunities at SEPTA, so the biggest strategy is educating the population on the opportunities that are available. When people think of SEPTA, they tend to think just of a bus, but there are a variety of career opportunities such as a separate police force, subway system, trains, trolleys, accountants, lawyers, and medical staff, among other available jobs, so there are plenty of opportunities for women to have a career at SEPTA. Recruiters are working to spread the word throughout the city. There may be lower attendance than anticipated. Many people register for the career fair, but when the event actually occurs, they may not all attend. SEPTA attracts about 300 women to the Women Building SEPTA—Trades and Technical Career Fair each year, but only approximately half of these women typically attend. The Impacts to the Transit Agency Many of the women who attended the trades and technical career fair did not previously know that these types of jobs could be a career option for them, so awareness of these career opportunities is increasing. The event provides dedicated time for current SEPTA employees to speak to potential candidates one on one about SEPTA and a career in the transit industry. Additionally, this gives the technical and trade schools the opportunity to promote themselves and recruit new students, leading to a larger candidate pool for the transit industry. At last year’s career fair, the schools that attended walked away with 40–50 student referrals each. Due to the career fair’s success, the general manager at SEPTA is considering holding the event twice a year. Strategy 2: Women in Transit (SEPTA) Group Overview of Strategy Use The Women in Transit (SEPTA) Group meets monthly to further the initiatives of recruiting more women to work in SEPTA and advancing women who currently work at SEPTA into leadership roles. The group offers leadership workshops, interview and resume workshops, a mentoring program, writing skills development, and social events to recruit members. The group also coordinates visits to the local technical and trade schools to share employees’ stories and spread awareness about SEPTA and transit careers.

38 Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit Implementation Information Planning and Implementation Process The Women in Transit (SEPTA) Group has been in existence since 2011, starting with 15 to 20 members. This group has now grown to include more than 150 women in SEPTA. The first step was gaining buy in from senior management. Once management was on board, work groups were formed to identify the needs and goals of the group. The group then developed posters and brochures and held town hall meetings to spread awareness of their group and to gain inter- est from potential members. To become a member, the group holds a membership drive and collects a $10 membership fee from each new member. The necessary resources are time outside of regular job duties to meet and be involved and channels to advertise the group. The key players are current female SEPTA employees and sup- port from the general manager and agency executives. Greatest Challenges Encountered The Women in Transit (SEPTA) Group has not experienced any challenges. A positive ele- ment of the group is that joining is optional, so those who are members want to be there and are excited about recruiting and advancing women within the organization. The Impacts to the Transit Agency The Women in Transit (SEPTA) Group prepares women for leadership careers in SEPTA. Additionally, women in this group serve as “the face” of SEPTA’s initiative for recruiting women into their organization. These women share their experiences with other women and with potential employees of SEPTA. Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) Medium Transit Agency Strategies Used Agency Demographics Women Empowering Sound Transit (WEST) Employee Resource Group (ERG)  Rail and bus services Approximately 1,000 employees Seattle, WA, metropolitan area Strategy 1: Women Empowering Sound Transit (WEST) Employee Resource Group (ERG) Overview of Strategy Use The WEST ERG was developed as a way to overcome some of the systematic barriers that have been in place for women within the organization for a while. The WEST ERG is seen as a vehicle of change for women within the agency with goals of increasing knowledge and education for women, connecting women within the organization, and affecting how and where the agency advertises for open positions. The ERG focuses on doing work to improve culture and remove biases that can creep up for gender issues. In addition to the WEST ERG, the transit agency has four other employee resource groups developed to support employees. They include Blacks Empowering Success in Transit (BEST ERG), Latinx in Transportation (LIT ERG), Pride (LGBTQ & Allies) ERG, and Sound Transit Pacific Islander Asian American Masterminds (SPAM ERG). These groups were all implemented by the transit agency’s EEO office and were designed to help overcome behaviors

Case Examples 39 or attitudes seen within the agency that were not consistent with the way that the organization wanted to do business and treat employees. Implementation Information Planning and Implementation Process The transit agency’s EEO office identified five focus areas for ERGs within the organization and worked with the CEO to gain buy in before sharing these groups with employees. After the EEO office identified these groups, the office held informational sessions to tell employees about the ERGs, describe what an ERG is, and talk about what these groups would do within the transit agency. At these informational sessions, the EEO office asked for employees who would step up to help begin and lead the groups. The employees who volunteered to help begin the women’s group were asked to create a charter, mission, and goals for the group using a template provided by the EEO office. At the beginning of this process, the WEST ERG volunteers met every week, during lunchtime, to develop the group charter and mission. Anyone who attended the informa- tional sessions about the ERG was invited to these meetings. At one of these early meetings, the members voted on group leaders, who have been responsible for leading the ERG and planning events for the members. The WEST ERG plans and puts on events for women in the organization. Each month, the group participates in an event called IdeaFest, in which members listen to 15 to 20 minutes of a podcast related to gender issues and then discuss as a group what they can do as individuals to combat gender issues. The conversations from this group have supported the development of relationships between members. Each month, the ERG also has a general members meeting, which has a different focus each month. For example, Sound Transit executives are invited to meetings for a conversation and a Q&A session with the WEST members. The group has also held workshops on improving meeting culture and being an ally to other women in the organization, as well as providing professional development workshops for the group’s members. Each of these meetings allows conversations between women to occur and helps to further develop relationships. As the program has progressed, the ERG leaders have learned to communicate better with the membership and to get people excited about events sponsored by the ERG. For example, they now send out a monthly newsletter that curates news from around the country about women in the workplace and shares information about upcoming events. They have also expanded events, planning a happy hour and lecture for members that was well attended by women within the agency. Participation has increased in ERG events, and connections are continuing to build. The necessary resources are the following: • Time is the biggest resource and can be an issue because the ERG is additional work for employees on top of their regular jobs. • To help with collaboration, resources such as OneNote and Microsoft Teams have helped team members to share information. • Executive sponsors for the group are important, as these individuals know the culture and political environment of the organization and can provide guidance as to the types of changes or efforts that may be successful. • The organization must be open and willing to change. The key players are employees who volunteered to lead the ERG and were elected into ERG leadership positions, the EEO Office and employees, and executive leadership. Greatest Challenges Encountered Aligning the role of the ERGs with the agency strategy and goals is a big challenge. Clearly demonstrating how ERGs support the agency encourages other departments to work with

40 Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit WEST on its mission and goals and encourages more staff to participate in the various events offered by WEST. At the beginning of the ERG development process, communication was difficult because word of mouth was the main way in which information about the group and its activities was shared. A communication plan and support from organization-wide communications professionals helped to make the communication aspect easier and ensure information about the group could flow more effectively. Another challenge has been to engage employees in the ERG. This is a challenge for the group. Leaders and members take on the responsibility, which is on top of their everyday jobs. Addi- tionally, because this is a new group, people are not sure of the impact it may have, so they may be less willing to invest time in the program. The Impacts to the Transit Agency While the impacts of the ERGs have not been officially measured, the ERG leaders have received a great deal of feedback from members that the WEST ERG has affected how they interact with their coworkers. Many of the members have built relationships that allow them to feel more included and supported within the organization. The ERG has created a community among its members and has shown women in the group that they are not alone. Additionally, women who have participated in the group’s events have indicated that they are more confident and no longer feel alone in gender-related issues that they thought they were imagining. The group has connected women with others who can help in their careers or provide advice at a career crossroads. A natural, informal mentorship has evolved. Choosing Initiatives The WEST ERG has been strategic about choosing initiatives on which to focus that are realistic in scope. The group has identified opportunities that can be accomplished in a short time frame with limited resources. For example, the transit agency already has mothering family rooms; however, these rooms are not as well accommodated as they should be (e.g., they do not have all the resources that nursing mothers see as beneficial). Rather than starting from scratch on a separate initiative to support women, the ERG can make a big impact in a relatively short time by building on these mothering rooms, which have been implemented but still need a little work to be fully beneficial to working women. Charlottesville Area Transit Small Transit Agency Strategies Used Agency Demographics Go Driver Program Bus and trolley services Approximately 120 employees Charlottesville, VA Strategy 1: Go Driver Program Overview of Strategy Use Over time, the proportion of women bus drivers employed by Charlottesville Area Transit has been declining. In the 1990s, 10 out of 24 bus drivers were women; currently, only 20 out

Case Examples 41 of 80 drivers are women. While the number of women drivers has increased since the 1990s, the overall pool of drivers has also increased, making the overall percentage of women drivers smaller than in the past. Women employees are leaving the transit agency for other roles and industries due to new employees having to work at night, which has a negative impact on the work–family balance. Many women who do work the night shift only do so as a second job. Additionally, the organization has lacked support for women in bus driver jobs, because the supervisor was male and there were not a large number of women in the job. Though sup- port for women is increasing due to the efforts of women within the organization speaking up to promote diversity and fairness, the need to increase the number of women employees is evident. To address these needs and provide more opportunities for women to work in transit, the workforce chief and training coordinator developed the Go Driver Program. This program encourages women to apply for the program by financially supporting students’ daily expenses such as rent or childcare until they have secured a job as a bus driver. Implementation Information Planning and Implementation Process The transit agency’s workforce chief took the Go Driver proposal to the City of Charlottes- ville to request funding and approval. Once approved, Charlottesville Area Transit collabo- rated with a local community college’s Workforce Development Department to advertise the program. From approval of the program to the program’s launch, the process took approxi- mately 6 months. Continual advertising and word of mouth from current students sustains the program. The Go Driver Program occurs twice a year. As a first step, students are able to indicate an interest to participate in the Go Driver Program. Once students indicate interest, program representatives interview approximately 20 applicants, including both women and men, to determine the best fit for the program. This fit is determined by using established selec- tion criteria designed to ensure students will be likely to complete the course and become a Charlottesville Area Transit employee. Once program participants are selected, Go Driver consists of 8 weeks to train and prepare students. During this training time, participants are not paid and must focus on their coursework. However, the Go Driver Program has resources to help participants pay for personal and family needs, such as rent and childcare. All students who pass the course receive a driver certification. Once hired, students are trained for an additional 8 weeks before operating a bus. The necessary resource is that the City of Charlottesville sponsors and funds the Go Driver Program. The key players are community college Workforce Development Departments and a coordinator for transit agency training. Greatest Challenges Encountered There was doubt initially that the program would be successful and there was a high expectation of dropouts due to participants completing 8 weeks of the program without pay. Though dropouts do occur, the rate tends to be low. The highest dropout rate for the Go Driver Program was 15% during one offering; however, the participant dropout rates are generally lower than this. Additionally, current employees can feel somewhat resentful to employees who participated in the program, as current employees feel they earned the position the hard way. It is important to acknowledge that the employees who participated in the Go Driver Program faced challenges

42 Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit too, such as being unpaid and focusing solely on the training course. Furthermore, the training coordinator works to ensure current employees feel valued by increasing training and support for work. This includes rewarding employees for accident-free years, planning employee picnics, and providing praise for good reports. The Impacts to the Transit Agency Go Driver focused on a major concern in recruiting women to become bus drivers by addressing childcare issues that were inhibiting women from training to become bus drivers. Because the program assists students with rent and childcare costs, many women are able to complete the training and are interested in joining the program. The program also demonstrated to women that they could successfully work in the transit industry and perform jobs within a transit agency, jobs that they otherwise might not have considered. The program also showed that there is upward mobility within the transit agency for women, as women could see opportunities for a career rather than just short-term work. Go Driver has received an award from the Virginia Transit Association, and other trans- portation organizations have shown interest in implementing this program in their cities and districts. Similar programs have been established in other fields within the city as well, including technology, satellite, and solar organizations. Other Considerations Though the Go Driver Program has been successful in recruiting more women to the position of bus driver, the transit agency does not have a formal strategy specifically for recruiting or advancing women. Logistically, this transit agency is nonunion and government run, with all employees being employed by the City of Charlottesville.

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Women have traditionally been underrepresented within the transit workforce. However, the percentage of women within transit agencies appears to be increasing, and many transit agencies report that the percentage of women advancing into management and leadership positions has also been increasing over the past 5 years.

The TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program's TCRP Synthesis 147: Attracting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in Transit explores the strategies that have been deployed in transit and other related industries in order to attract, retain, and advance women in a variety of roles.

A critical first step to ensure success in these areas is to remove barriers to entry and address challenges women face once employed.

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