The METRANS Transportation Center, a joint partnership of USC and California State University, Long Beach, has been selected by the Federal Highway Administration to host the newly established Southwest Regional Surface Transportation Workforce Center, which includes a grant of approximately $1 million.
The center, to be housed at the CSULB Center for International Trade and Transportation, will be under the leadership of Thomas O’Brien, CITT executive director and METRANS associate director.
METRANS Director Genevieve Giuliano, senior associate dean at the USC Price School of Public Policy, will act as the center’s senior researcher and project adviser. The Southwest center — one of five new FHA regional workforce centers nationwide — spans eight states including California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. Its key objectives are to facilitate partnerships between federal, state, regional and local departments of transportation and education, industry and other public and private stakeholders involved in transportation planning, operations and education.
“We are delighted to receive this grant and look forward to contributing to this important endeavor,” Giuliano said. “It is a recognition of our accomplishments in education and professional training, and will allow us to substantially expand these efforts.”
Workforce and training needs
Over the next four years, the center will aim to identify workforce and training needs for various transportation sectors; evaluate different options for workforce education and development across the educational spectrum of traditional and non-traditional learning communities; and develop a variety of educational offerings that will be tested for their appropriateness in different settings throughout the region and, by extension, the entire nation.
In addition to Giuliano, two other USC Price faculty members will be involved with the center, serving as expert advisers.
Susan Gautsch, the USC Price director of online learning and a nationally recognized leader in the field, will advise on non-traditional workforce development delivery methods. Roberto Suro, director of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at USC Price, will advise on workforce development challenges and opportunities in diverse communities.
The size of the region and the diversity of its population provide a great challenge.
The center will also include CITT’s Stephen Lantz, Mark Coppock of the Texas A&M University Transportation Institute, Fran Beauman of the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute and Brian Cronin from ICF International.
“We have great challenges and opportunities,” O’Brien noted. “The size of the region, which includes the nation’s two most populous states, and the diversity of its population provide a great challenge. But it’s a unique regional laboratory in which to study workforce needs tied to both urban and rural transportation services, transportation in and through border states, and trade gateways and corridors.”
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