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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) a $739,605 workforce development grant, which the transit agency will use to establish a program to prepare under-represented high school students for careers in transportation, design and construction. Known as the "Workforce Investment Now," the program will focus specifically on high school students at the Bronx Design and Construction Academy (BDCA) in Melrose, MTA officials said in a press release. MTA will work with the Transportation Diversity Council, a New York City-based non-profit organization, to set up the program, which builds upon characteristics of a similar one developed by Denver's Regional Transportation District."As the MTA's system continues to grow, we will need more and more skilled men and women, such as BDCA graduates, who are excited about the industry and are committed to working on future projects at the MTA," said MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast. "These funds will ensure that we will have the best-trained and highest achieving employees to meet the challenges of the job."Meanwhile, San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) received a similar $750,000 workforce development grant from the USDOT.BART will use its funds to establish the "Transit Career Ladders Training" (TLCT) program, which is aimed at creating accessible pathways to employment in the transit industry through partnerships with workforce investment boards and Bay Area community colleges, BART officials said in a press release.The TCLT program will promote transportation-related careers in low-income areas, unemployed and underemployed communities, and among minorities, veterans, and women in an effort to foster a culture of innovation."Diverse perspectives on how different communities interact with transit contribute to a better understanding of how the Bay Area moves, and results in higher-quality and more responsive service to customers," BART officials said. "TCLT will also support and enhance existing technical programs at local colleges through real-world interaction with the transit system."Both BART and the MTA received the funds as part of the USDOT's $9.5 million grant package to help train skilled workers and support public transportation careers.A total of 19 projects across 13 states will receive some of the money.
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