RTA and Tri-C join forces to offer temporary CDL training for bus operators

Nov 18, 2019

Members of the media are invited to join RTA and Tri-C as they announce a partnership that provides temporary Commercial Drivers' License training to RTA bus operator applicants.

Much like transportation companies across the company, RTA has a shortage of drivers and works to recruit and retain operators every quarter.

This “meet and greet” offers an opportunity to tour the facility and hear from RTA’s CEO as well as Tri-C’s President about their efforts to meet the growing demand for drivers and their workforce development initiatives.


The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA)

  • Ms. India Birdsong, CEO and General Manager
  • George Fields, Acting Deputy General Manager-Human Resources
  • Liz Jaszczak-Director, Employment & Recruitment
  • Tashena Harris, HR Business Partner.

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C)

  • Dr. Alex Johnson, Tri-C President
  • William Gary, Executive Vice President of Tri-C’s Workforce, Community and Economic Development Division.
  • Alicia Booker, Tri-C Vice President of Manufacturing
  • Ian Wilson-Director, Transportation Innovation Center.


RTA and Tri-C are partnering to provide temporary Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL) training to RTA bus operator applicants.

A tour of Tri-C’s facilities and an opportunity to meet students participating in the Temporary Commercial Drivers’ License training is also available.

The four-day, 40-hour training allows RTA candidates to be trained and tested in order to obtain their temporary or permanent CDL license prior to beginning RTA operator training.


11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Monday, November 18, 2019


Tri-C Transportation Innovation Center
24881 Rockwell Dr, Euclid, OH 44117


RTA developed the Temporary Commercial Drivers’ License Training Program, in partnership with Tri-C, to address the challenge of creating a larger pipeline of operator applicants (bus and paratransit) to fill job openings, and remove barriers that unnecessarily discourage interested and qualified applicants.

Much like transportation companies across the company, RTA has a shortage of drivers and works to recruit and retain operators every quarter. 

“With unemployment the lowest it’s been in 50 years, we have to be creative and challenge our traditional thinking about how we recruit bus operators,” says RTA CEO and General Manager India Birdsong.

“Tri-C is a valuable partner in helping RTA recruit and train one of our most valuable assets, our operators. Workforce readiness is a goal we share that positively impacts the community.  Together, RTA and Tri-C are making it easier for operators to be hired, to be prepared to begin training quickly and to get on the road serving our customers as soon as possible. Together, we’re making it easier to put more people to work while providing them with a sustainable, living wage, terrific benefits and job security,” Birdsong said.


The Temporary Commercial Drivers’ License Training Program is one of many workforce development initiatives between the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). This program prepares RTA's new student operator trainees to take and pass the testing required to obtain a temporary commercial drivers’ license permit. Additionally, the classes provide tips for the permanent commercial drivers’ license process.

This initiative is particularly important to RTA, as there is a constant and critical need to hire part-time and full-time operators (bus, paratransit, and rail) to keep up with our ability to provide safe, reliable, clean, and courteous service to our customers in Cuyahoga County. On any given month, 10-12 operators retire from our employment, and it is critical to have a pipeline of qualified operators to replacement them.

RTA offers a wide range of comprehensive benefits and programs to support the health and wellness of employees and family members including health benefits (medical, dental and vision), a wellness incentive program and participation in the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS.). The starting wage for our bus/rail operators is $17.21/hour.

Class groups are scheduled every two weeks based on hiring of RTA new student operator trainees. RTA hires up to eight (8) new student operators per class group.

Each class session is four days (40 hours), and held at Tri-C's Transportation Innovation Center in Euclid, Ohio.

The first group of eight students completed their training on October 24 and passed their testing to receive the Temporary Commercial Drivers’ License permit.

The next four-day class starts on Monday, November 18.


RTA Human Resources Department