UVM to Host New Regional Transportation Workforce Center
Burlington, VT, Oct. 6, 2014—The University of Vermont (UVM) Transportation Research Center has been selected to host the Northeast Regional Surface Transportation Workforce Center under a four year grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The new Center will be based at the Transportation Research Center (TRC) on the UVM Trinity Campus in Burlington. The new Center will focus on developing programs with partner groups throughout the region to train transportation workers for future needs and to promote participation by underrepresented groups in the transportation industry. It will work closely with private industry and public sector transportation agencies as well as a rich network of education, labor and workforce offices across 11 states and the District of Columbia.
The foundation for the Center was set in a five year FHWA Transportation Education Development Pilot Program (TEDPP) designed and implemented by the UVM TRC from 2008–2013. This work, extending across northern New England, piloted programs across disciplines, modes, and industries. It broadly advanced a Career Pathways approach to transportation fields and created original curriculum and programs for high schools, community colleges, universities, and professional development programs for transportation workers. Of the many partnerships that grew out of this program one of the strongest was with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans).
Brian Searles, Secretary, Vermont Agency of Transportation stated that “the selection of UVM and the Transportation Research Center to host the new Northeast Regional Surface Transportation Workforce Center makes perfect sense. The TRC has already successfully carried out this work and will undoubtedly be successful with the new Center in developing our future transportation workforce.”
The new Center will facilitate programs and opportunities across the new northeastern region. It is one of five Centers created under this program by FHWA to coordinate approaches to building the transportation workforce nationally. To enhance the northeastern Center, the UVM TRC is collaborating with The Center for Advanced Infrastructure & Transportation (CAIT) and The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, both at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The collaboration is designed to ensure that rural and urban needs in this diverse region are both well served. The Centers at Rutgers bring a number of assets to this effort including the launching of a national Virtual Career Network for the Transit industry this fall.
Under the grant agreement the new Center will be charged with creating and sustaining a viable regional network of surface transportation workforce development stakeholders across the transportation/labor/education continuum. Glenn McRae, the Associate Director at the UVM TRC, will be the new Workforce Center Director. McRae introduced the Center as “an exciting opportunity to build on our early efforts to create and grow a common one-stop resource center. The new Center will provide information and innovation on transportation workforce development for public and private employers, educators, job seekers, and current transportation workers.” The Center will advance established and successful initiatives utilizing a web-based Center portal as well as supporting innovations in STEM efforts at the entry level. The Center will continue its work to bridge career pathways from other fields, including opportunities for Veterans and women, started under the previous workforce program.
In addition to its broad based mandate, the UVM TRC has proposed three areas of special emphasis for increasing workforce readiness, paralleling three areas of regional priorities as established by multi-state or regional agreements impacting the transportation system:
(1) Climate change adaptation and extreme weather events;
(2) Build out of infrastructure and technology for an alternative fuel fleet;
(3) Rapid deployment of innovation and technology in sustainable transportation systems.
Vermont’s Transportation Research Center (TRC) is a hub for innovative and interdisciplinary research, education and outreach on sustainable transportation system solutions. The TRC focuses on transportation planning as it relates to resilience, energy and health.