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ATU Teams with California Workforce Board to Secure Federal Grant to Train Maintenance Workers for Zero Emission Buses

Our Union is proud to announce that we have teamed up with the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) and other partners to win a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Program to expand workforce development programs for transit maintenance workers to prepare for the transition to Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs).

“We are truly honored to receive this grant from the Department of Labor and to be doing this work with our partners who, like us, believe in the transformational power of listening to and learning from frontline workers,” said ATU International President John Costa.  “This grant will allow us to ensure that our members are not left behind when it comes to zero-emission technology.”


Meeting the Goals of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

The ATU and CWDB partnered with California Transit Works, the Oregon AFL-CIO, public transit agencies, and frontline transit workers to secure the grant that will be critical in meeting the goals of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including reducing emissions and helping combat the climate crisis. 

“California is leading the way in clean transportation, creating good-paying jobs that require a highly skilled workforce,” said Curtis Notsinneh, CWDB Chief Deputy Director. “This federal funding will expand workforce and training opportunities for Californians of all backgrounds and ensure disadvantaged communities share in the economic gains associated with these investments supporting renewable energy and transportation.”

The grant will be used to fund a new High Road to Innovative Clean Transit (HRICT) project to expand transit sector training partnerships across California, Oregon, and nationally. The HRICT project will train 625 new and incumbent transit bus maintenance mechanics in essential ZEB maintenance skills. The project’s target population includes women, people of color, and workers from historically underserved, low-income communities.

As the state continues to invest in ZEBs, it’s vital that transit mechanics are trained to maintain and repair these buses safely and efficiently. Currently, the transportation industry has no standard career education, credentialing, or structured career pathway for the highly skilled professionals responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of ZEBs. This grant is a critical step toward addressing that gap.

Commitments to participate in the HRICT initiative include training partners from transit agencies and transit unions in California and Oregon, the California Energy Commission, and California community colleges, adult education, high schools, and local workforce development boards.