CSULB Joins Federal Partnership to Explore Transportation issues

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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently awarded the Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT) at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) a major federal award to look at transportation issues throughout the southwestern United States and find ways in which educational opportunities can improve them.

“We have great challenges and opportunities,” said Thomas O’Brien, CITT executive director and METRANS associate director. “The size of the region—which includes the nation’s two most populous states—and the diversity of its population provide an opportunity and a challenge. 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.”

Additional awardees include the University of Southern California (USC), Texas A&M University’s Transportation Institute (TTI), ICF International and the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI).

Acting as the new Surface Transportation Regional Transportation Workforce Center of Excellence (SRSTWC), the team will facilitate partnerships among federal, state, regional and local departments of transportation and education, industry and other stakeholders involved in transportation planning, operations and education. The endeavor will cover eight states – California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.

Over the next four years, SRSTWC will 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 several educational offerings.

The team will be led by the METRANS partnership of CSULB and USC, with CITT responsible for project management. O’Brien will act as SRSTWC director, with Genevieve Giuliano, senior associate dean of the Sol Price School of Public Policy at USC and director of METRANS, serving as the center’s senior researcher and project advisor.

Stephen Lantz, a CITT project manager with more than 30 years of public sector transportation planning and management experience, will coordinate stakeholder development and outreach.

SRSTWC also includes two expert advisors — Susan Gautsch, a professor at USC nationally recognized for her distance learning expertise, who will advise on non-traditional workforce development delivery methods; and Roberto Suro, the director of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at USC, who will advise on workforce development challenges and opportunities in diverse communities.

The team also is strengthened by three nationally recognized sub-applicants — TTI’s Mark Coppock, who will lead the center’s website development and administration; NOCTI’s Fran Beauman, who will lead curriculum development for grades 6-12; and ICF International senior staff, including Brian Cronin, who is an expert in transportation industry workforce development and will lead the labor force demand analysis tasks.

“A lot of work went into securing this center and it’s a great honor,” said O’Brien. “We have a lot of work in front of us and a lot of great individuals providing assistance.”

The CITT is dedicated to delivering education programs, innovative research and community outreach in the area of goods movement. CITT is the Long Beach home for three major research centers: METRANS Transportation Center, a U.S. Department of Transportation-designated university transportation center; the U.C. Davis-led National Center for Sustainable Transportation; and METROFREIGHT, a Volvo Research and Education Foundations Center of Excellence in Urban Freight based at USC.

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