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Rural Health Information Hub

Workforce and Staffing Considerations

Workforce and staffing considerations are an important component of any transportation program in a rural community. It is important to ensure that there are adequate staff to operate a program. In rural areas, new transportation jobs can provide an economic boost for the community. Determining the number of staff needed to implement and operate a program is essential. The different types of staff and roles may include:

  • Human resources staff
  • Customer service representatives
  • Dispatchers
  • Drivers/operators

Transportation programs that also include a healthcare component, for example community paramedicine programs, will need additional staff to conduct health-related tasks. Staff labor accounts for the majority of operating costs for a transportation program. In addition, programs should also consider trainings and certifications required for staff to operate transit equipment.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA)'s Department of Transportation, announced new funding to promote workforce development in the transportation sector in 13 states beginning in 2015. The funding is administered through the Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development program. The FTA offers technical assistance and provides other resources to help states develop and sustain the transportation workforce. This technical assistance can help programs address and implement safety checks, additional accessibility measures, and other best practices.

A program funded by the Federal Highway Administration, The National Network for the Transportation Workforce also focuses on developing and strengthening the transportation workforce. It is made up of five regional centers which include:

These regional workforce centers work on improving coordination of transportation services in the region to break down silos, improve efficiency, and reduce duplication of efforts.

Resources to Learn More

Small Urban and Rural Center on Mobility
Offers resources including training courses, workshops, conference presentations, and webinars on transit management for small urban and rural transportation workers.
Organization(s): Small Urban and Rural Transit Center

Workforce Development Initiative
Lists resources for educating and training transit workforce through grant opportunities and through programs available at other federal agencies.
Organization(s): Federal Transit Administration

Workforce Development and Succession Planning to Prepare the Rural Transit Industry for the Future
Describes the impending issue of an aging transportation workforce in rural America and methods employers can use to invest in their current workforce.
Author(s): Peterson, D. & Rieck, T.
Organization(s): National Center for Transit Research
Date: 7/2016