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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) yesterday announced its first rail-car technician apprenticeship program.Through a partnership with the national nonprofit organization the Transportation Learning Center, up to five apprenticeship programs are slated to begin in July 2016, including maintenance and auto machinists, transit power line workers, and electricians, SFMTA officials said in a press release.SFMTA is one of nine transportation agencies nationwide to share a $750,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration to help launch standards-based apprenticeship programs. The funds will support costs for materials, tools, and additional efforts, and will be matched by funds from all participating agencies with amounts based on ridership.The SFMTA's rail technician apprenticeships will last four to five years, after which graduates will become journey-level workers.SFMTA Chairman Tom Nolan said that this program marks a "crucial investment" in the future of the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni), which is overseen by SFMTA.“By starting now to train a new robust, highly-skilled technical workforce, we’re laying the foundation to ensure that our Muni Metro system can be the reliable rail network our City needs," Nolan said.Nearly half of all Muni workers in many technical positions have reached retirement age, SFMTA officials said.
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