Driving the Bus

Story submitted by: Community Career Development, Inc.

Workforce Challenge

Metro, the major provider of bus and rail services in Los Angeles, needed to train 12 people to be bus operators to meet hiring demands. However, the physical act of driving the bus is only one part of the equation. Bus drivers must also have "soft skills" - ways of interacting with customers in a professional manner that includes the ability to handle difficult situations, conflicts, or service issues.

Workforce Solution

In January, 2010, Community Career Development, Inc. (CCD), which operates WorkSource Centers for both LA County and City of LA WIBs, launched a customized training program on behalf of Metro. This training program, called Metro Pre-Bridge Bus Operator Training Academy, was a partnership between CCD, El Camino College, Compton Educational Center, and Los Angeles Valley College, and targeted unemployed individuals receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits. The Pre-Bridge Academy would provide soft-skills training, and those who met standards would continue into paid training with Metro to become Bus Operators.

Outcomes & Benefits

As a result of the training, five Compton residents were among 12 individuals who successfully completed the program and continued into the paid training at Metro. Today, Adriane Hunt, Janice Pierce, Barbara Miller, Annette Smith James and Shanelle DeAngelo are enthusiastic and proud bus operators. Their success is the result of the perseverance and tenacity required by anyone who embarks upon training in a new industry. As Ms. Pierce commented, "I almost didn't come back that first day because I underestimated what I was hearing. In fact, the coaching in soft skills was the most valuable to prepare me for working with the public and becoming a responsible employee." The program ran again in December, 2010, and continues to help job seekers get back to work.

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