Dec 15, 2023
During National Apprentice Week, on November 17, 2023, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) proudly hosted an esteemed group of industry leaders, including ATU International Director of Apprenticeships & Workforce Development, Jamaine Gibson, Transportation Learning Center Executive Director, Jack Clark, and FTA Deputy Regional Administrator for Region V, Ajay Garg. The gathering also included representatives from transit systems in Toledo, COTA, and St. Louis Metro.
The focus of this presentation was GCRTA's groundbreaking Positive Impact Program, now recognized as a best-practice mentoring initiative for transit agencies. In addition to the presentation, there was a heartwarming ceremony for mentees to celebrate their accomplishments and personal growth.
Understanding the Positive Impact Program
The Positive Impact Program at GCRTA is a transformative initiative designed to support and retain new transit operators. This employee retention program recognizes the importance of mentorship in the early stages of a career, especially in the transit industry. Through this program, new operators are paired with experienced operators who provide guidance, support, and valuable insights. Mentors play a vital role in helping mentees navigate their roles, overcome challenges, and build confidence in their abilities.
The Positive Impact Program goes beyond traditional onboarding and training processes by fostering a strong sense of community and collaboration. Mentees have the opportunity to learn from their mentors' experiences, gain valuable industry knowledge, and develop essential skills for success. This program not only benefits the mentees but also contributes to the overall success of GCRTA by creating a supportive work environment and retaining employees.
Key Features of the Positive Impact Program:
- Collaborative Approach: The GCRTA and ATU collaborative approach officially launched in August 2022, following a successful small pilot program.
- District-Wide Implementation: The program was simultaneously launched at four GCRTA operating districts: Hayden, Triskett, Paratransit, and Rail.
- Impactful Statistics: The program has mentored a total of 95 individuals, with 44 successfully graduating. The mentor count stands at an impressive 74 people.
- Increased Retention: Notably, there has been a remarkable 36% increase in new operator retention, soaring from 50% to an impressive 86% after one year of service when paired with a mentor.
- Reduced Absences and Misses: The Positive Impact Program has led to a 30% decrease in new operator absences and an impressive 50% decrease in new operator misses.