InTrans / Nov 10, 2014

Transit Virtual Career Network helps job hunters match background to careers

Go! Magazine

Blueprintposted on November 10, 2014

PISCATAWAY, NJ—Ever wonder what it takes to work in the growing transit industry? Now, the Transit Virtual Career Network (TVCN) makes it easy for job hunters to investigate options before applying, such as checking to see how their background matches up with desired experience levels, understanding how to get qualified, finding ways to take a class online, find financial aid resources, and more.

The TVCN, a website funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration and created by a consortium of university and nonprofit and technology partners, provides a free, all-in-one solution. Not only can users search through job listings, they can discover how to complete their education, or find out how prior experience—especially military service—can translate into a new career.

“The Transit VCN breaks new ground in online career exploration and preparation by combining comprehensive occupation descriptions with the information and resources workers need to pursue these in-demand jobs,” said Kathryn Jo Mannes, senior vice president for workforce and economic development, the American Association of Community Colleges. “AACC and its partners are proud to support the VCN platform as a catalyst to introduce un-employed, under-employed and nontraditional workers to career pathways in transit as well as other high-growth sectors.”

Blueprint worker
Blueprint worker.

Nearly half of the public transportation workforce is expected to retire over the next 5 to 10 years, which inspired the creation of the web site. As a $55 billion industry, transit directly employs more than 400,000 workers, and many of the industry’s positions do not require a four-year college degree. Many agencies offer their own in-house training, and afford current employees opportunities to advance in their careers.

Visitors to the web site can explore more than 50 transit occupations, determine which would be a best match, and read interviews with those currently employed in those positions. Searches reveal what positions typically pay and what certifications are required. Many of the jobs are so-called “middle skill” jobs, which mean they require more than high school but less than a four-year degree. Employers, such as transit agencies, are increasingly seeking workers with middle-skill certifications, such as in electronics or mechanics.

Besides the AACC, the other partners include the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and the Cen­ter for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT), both at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; the American Public Transportation Association (APTA); the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB); and XPAND Corporation.

The first two Virtual Career Network portals — for healthcare and green economy jobs (—were launched in 2012 and 2013 respectively and are used by jobseekers, students, and workforce development professionals at American Job Centers and community colleges across the nation as well as other nonprofit service providers such as Goodwill Industries International, International Association of Jewish Vocational Services, and SER National, among others.

Subway at Washington Metro
Subway at Washington Metro.

“NAWB has been a partner in the VCN effort since its beginning with healthcare careers, and is pleased to have been a partner on this new transit career hub,” said Ron Painter, president and chief executive officer, NAWB. “This new virtual destination opens up a whole new set of opportunities for American job seekers to explore a vibrant industry with high-paying jobs.”

The VCN open-source platform was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and created by a team that included AACC, NAWB, XPAND Corporation, the American Council on Education, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, DirectEmployers Association, the U.S. Department of Defense, Jobs for the Future, the American Dental Education Association, Ed2Go, and iSeek Solutions.

About the American Association of Community Colleges

As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), delivers educational and economic opportunity for 13 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s nearly 1,200 member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers and family supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of delivering economic mobility for all.

About the American Public Transportation Association

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.

About the National Association of Workforce Boards

The National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) represents approximately 600 Workforce Investment Boards and their 12,000 business members who oversee and coordinate the delivery of workforce services with education and economic development services within their local communities. Workforce Investment Boards ensure that workforce development and job training programs meet the needs of employers, creating a comprehensive system that provides America with a highly skilled workforce that can compete in the global economy. NAWB connects Workforce Investment Board members, workforce development professionals, and policy makers with the knowledge, training, and tools they need to make informed decisions about how to invest in workforce strategies that advance the economic health of their communities.

About The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development

The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University is one of the nation’s foremost research and policy organizations dedicated to strengthening the American workforce during an era of rapid global economic change. The Center researches and develops strategies that increase workers’ skills and employability, strengthen the ability of companies to compete, create jobs where they are needed, and improve the quality of the public workforce development system. For over 15 years, the Heldrich Center has collaborated with partners and clients to translate cutting-edge research and analysis into practices and programs that companies, unions, colleges and universities, community-based organizations, and government can implement to strengthen the nation’s workforce.

About the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation

The Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) at Rutgers University develops research, education, and technology solutions for critical transportation issues such as bridge and road health monitoring and rehabilitation, asset management, ports and freight, safety and security, and workforce training. The center examines complex challenges specifically found within high-volume multimodal corridors. It is one of only five National University Transportation Centers, an elite group of academic research institutions sanctioned and supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. CAIT efforts focus on the USDOT strategic goal to keep the country’s infrastructure in good repair as well as the interrelated goals of safety and economic competitiveness. With government, industry, and other university partners, CAIT advances state-of-the-art products, best practices, and a knowledgeable transportation workforce.

Related links

United States Department of Transportation Transit Jobs:

By Brandy Haenlein, Go! Program Coordinator

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