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Rutgers leads partnership to build transit career network

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Rutgers University is leading a partnership that's creating a transit career network website to provide information on jobs, career paths and education in transportation, according to an announcement from the school.

The network will launch in 2015, courtesy of a $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration's Transit Workforce Development Program. Rutgers' John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation will lead the effort.

"For years, transit employers have been concerned about skilled worker shortages as more workers reach retirement age, technology and consumer demands change quickly, and demand for transit services increases," said Jennifer Cleary, senior project manager at the Heldrich Center. "A lot of hiring was done in the '60s and '70s, and we are anticipating a big wave of retirement in the next decade. We're afraid a lot of young people are not aware of the opportunities that will be available."

The website will include career information created by the Heldrich Center under a $600,000 FTA grant awarded to Rutgers' National Transit Institute in 2009. That information included a 250-page listing of transit jobs.

"When most people think of public transportation they think of bus drivers, but they're not aware of all the higher-skilled jobs in the industry," Cleary said. "This career planning resource allows them to understand all the jobs available, the salaries and the education needed to get there. It will be dynamic, searchable and visual."

Some of those jobs include dispatchers, welders, road maintenance, equipment purchasing agents, fare counters, security, administration, computer technicians and human resources.

The American Association of Community Colleges, Xpand Corp., the National Association of Workforce Boards and the American Public Transportation Association will assist in developing the site.

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