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California State Workforce Board Secures $5 Million Federal Training Grant To Prepare Transit Maintenance Workers For Zero Emission Buses

CWDB Partners With ATU, CTW, Oregon AFL-CIO, and Public Transit Agencies

Sacramento, CA – The California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) is excited to announce a $5 million grant from h the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Program to expand workforce development programs for transit maintenance workers to prepare for the transition to Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs).

The CWDB partnered with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the largest transit union in North America, California Transit Works, the Oregon American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), public transit agencies, and frontline transit workers to secure the grant that will be critical in meeting goals of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including to reduce emissions and help combat the climate crisis. 

"California is leading the way in clean transportation, creating good-paying jobs that require a highly skilled workforce," said Curtis Notsinneh, CWDB Chief Deputy Director. "This federal funding will expand workforce and training opportunities for Californians of all backgrounds and ensure disadvantaged communities share in the economic gains associated with these investments supporting renewable energy and transportation."

The grant will be used to fund a new High Road to Innovative Clean Transit (HRICT) project to expand transit sector training partnerships across California, Oregon, and nationally. The HRICT project will train 625 new and incumbent transit bus maintenance mechanics in essential ZEB maintenance skills. The project's target population includes women, people of color, and workers from historically-underserved, low-income communities.

“We are truly honored to receive this grant from the Department of Labor and to be doing this work with our partners who, like us, believe in the transformational power of listening to and learning from frontline workers,” said ATU International President John Costa.  “This grant will allow us to ensure that our members are not left behind when it comes to zero-emission technology."

As the state continues to invest in ZEBs, it's vital that transit mechanics are trained to maintain and repair these buses safely and efficiently. Currently, the transportation industry has no standard career education, credentialing, or structured career pathway for the highly-skilled professionals responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of ZEBs. This grant is a critical step toward addressing that gap.

Commitments to participate in the HRICT initiative include training partners from transit agencies and transit unions in California and Oregon; the California Energy Commission; and California community colleges, adult education, high schools, and local workforce development boards.

Learn more about High Road Training Partnerships on CWDB's website

The California Workforce Development Board forges partnerships with businesses, labor, and government to build a high road economy defined by equity, quality jobs, and climate resiliency that challenges systemic barriers toward shared economic prosperity.