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4/4/2002



Rail News: Passenger Rail

SEPTA, unions put training grant to work


Gaining the skills to move up the transit-career ladder — or retain transit jobs — just got a little easier for Pennsylvanians March 28 when Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Johnny Butler announced the roll-out of the Keystone Transit Career Ladders Partnership, a statewide initiative created to address the shortage of technological skills in the mass transit industry.



Secretary Butler presented a $718,000 grant to a labor-management partnership represented by Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority General Manager Faye Moore, Transportation Workers Union President Sonny Hall and AFL-CIO President Bill George. SEPTA and TWU plan to use the funds to expand training for bus mechanics and support new training opportunities in rail, underground power and elevator/escalator technology.



The partnership primarily would address the need for skilled workers by providing training for current mass transit workers, enabling the work force to respond to changes in job requirements.



And, although the partnership is beginning its implementation in Philadelphia with SEPTA and TWU, the program is a statewide initiative that officials plan to expand to Pittsburgh and other, smaller, transit agencies in the state.



"Providing workers with new skills allows them to master new transit technologies," said TWU’s Hall in a prepared statement. "This is critical to everyone because workers with new skills can do their jobs well, move up career ladders and provide quality service to our communities, so they can have the quality transportation services and access to good jobs that strong transportation systems provide."


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