The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has received three top American Public Transportation Association (APTA) awards for innovation in workforce development, marketing/communications and efforts to keep bus riders and operators safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Metro was presented with the awards at APTA’s annual conference on November 9th.
“APTA recognizes excellence in the public transportation industry in North America, and to that end, these awards are a great indication that Metro is leading the nation and beyond in innovative programs,” said Metro Board Chair and Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Hilda L. Solis. “Metro recognizes the importance of building a future transportation workforce to build all of the critical transportation projects taxpayers have helped fund in L.A. County. On behalf of the agency, we thank APTA for this special and well-deserved recognition.”
Metro received APTA’s Innovation Award for its workforce development efforts. Specifically, APTA highlighted Metro’s SEED School of Los Angeles County, which broke ground in South Los Angeles in October 2020. The school will be the nation’s first public boarding school for grades 9-12 to focus specifically on the future workforce needs of the transportation industry. The school is part of Metro’s larger efforts to engage youth in all aspects of transportation to ensure that they are influencing, inheriting and even potentially leading a Metro system that best serves their needs.
“These accolades are further recognition of the amazing Metro employees who are continually working to improve all aspects of the customer experience, whether it’s involving our future transit riders and leaders in our decision-making process, expanding opportunities to develop a more equitable workforce, ensuring that our riders and operators are protected from COVID-19 or improving the experience of taking transit through our public art program,” said Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins, who participated in the APTA conference where the awards were announced. “I am humbled by their commitment to service and so proud of this important recognition of Metro’s work.”
The innovation award also highlighted Metro’s Career Pathways Program/Workforce Initiative Now–Los Angeles (WIN-LA) programs, which are designed to increase opportunities for underrepresented Los Angeles County residents, including the unhoused, single parents and former foster care youth.
Metro also received APTA’s Gold Award for its efforts to ensure the health and safety of its bus riders and operators during the pandemic. The award cited Metro’s creation of a Recovery Task Force that brought together leaders from throughout the agency to coordinate the agency’s response to the pandemic and to work toward a better post-pandemic “new normal”. APTA also highlighted Metro’s rapid deployment of personal protective equipment for bus operators, the installation and use of transparent protective barriers that separate bus operators from passengers and the use of rear-door boarding to help ensure social distancing. Metro also installed mask dispensers and hand sanitizers on buses and systemwide to help protect the health of its riders.
“Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, LA Metro has implemented the recommended guidelines and has been on the forefront of health and safety, which has paid off in protecting its employees and riders alike,” APTA said.
Finally, Metro received APTA’s Adwheel Award Grand Prize for its “Metro Art Deep Connections Exhibition and Catalogue,” a series of life-size, black-and-white photographs by local artist Ken Karagozian that is currently displayed in the Union Station Passageway Art Gallery. Karagozian has worked with Metro for decades to document the work done to build Metro’s subterranean rail system, providing an intimate look at the humanity of the workers, the enormity of the machinery and the intricacy of tunneling work.
Editor’s Note: Metro Operators are crucial to keeping LA moving. Metro is currently hiring more than 500 bus operators and is offering a $1,000 bonus for coming aboard. This is a great career opportunity. Metro offers competitive hourly rates starting at $17.75 for part-time bus operators and benefits include health insurance, tuition reimbursements, paid training, retirement plan options and part-time flexible hours. Please encourage friends, family and community members to become a part of the Metro team that provides excellence in service and support and keeps our region moving. Apply at metro.net/driveLA.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is currently providing lifeline service for essential trips and frontline workers. Metro continues building the most ambitious transportation infrastructure program in the United States and is working to greatly improve mobility through itsVision 2028 Plan.
Metro has proudly pledged to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Health and Safety Commitment Program to help ensure the safe return of transit riders as the U.S. recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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