Press Release

February 3, 2011

– U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and
Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) has awarded two grants totally more than $1.6 million to improve transit maintenance training at the International Transportation Learning Center (ITLC) in Silver Spring, MD.  The grants will support escalator and elevator maintenance training, along with rail and bus system maintenance.
The DoT awarded a $1 million grant to address the ongoing skills shortage crisis in the transit maintenance workforce, and another $675,000 grant to develop a national Transit Elevator/Escalator Maintenance Training and Apprenticeship Program. Elevator and escalator breakdowns commonly occur on the Metro system. For example, on January 31, 74 escalators and nine elevators were reported out of commission during the morning rush hour.
 “An investment in public transportation is an investment in our future,” said
Senator Cardin, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “This job-training grant will equip workers with the skills they need to make our transit systems safer, more reliable and more efficient. Frequent escalator outages at Metro stations pose challenges to commuters, but this new funding should help make Metro more dependable for everyone.”
“A workforce trained in safe rail, escalator and elevator repair will help make sure that public transit systems, like the Washington, D.C. Metro, are safe for the people who work on
them and ride on them,”
Senator Mikulski said. “Funds in the federal checkbook for Maryland public transit systems to train people in much needed transit repair skills means safer and faster commutes to work, better air quality, and a workforce ready for  jobs today.”
The Transportation Learning Center is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve public transportation both nation-wide and within individual communities. The Center focuses on building labor-management training partnerships that improve organizational performance, expand workforce skills, and promote career advancement.