Thursday November 08, 2018
At a ceremony in Washington, D.C. today, the federal agency honored Metro with a “Gold” award as part of its 2018 HIRE Vets Medallion Program, which recognizes nationwide job creators both large and small that demonstrate a strong commitment to hiring former U.S. military personnel.
In Fiscal Year 2018, military veterans constituted more than seven percent of Metro’s annual hiring for both blue- and white-collar jobs. Of the 1,376 employees Metro hired that year, 98 were veterans. The numbers surpass Metro’s own annual veteran hiring goal of six percent that was established by Metro’s CEO Phillip A. Washington, who is a U.S. Army veteran. The percentage also surpasses the transit industry’s four percent veteran hiring goal over a three-year period established by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
“I am so proud of Metro for its constant attention to be a veteran-friendly employer,” said Sheila Kuehl, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair. “This agency truly cares about improving job prospects for our veterans and I can see the ways in which our proactive veteran hiring program is changing veterans’ lives every day. I would love to see other jurisdictions follow Metro’s lead and it makes sense. A talented veteran working in a good job is a win-win.”
Metro’s Veteran Hiring Program began as one of APTA’s first pilot initiatives to recruit more veterans to work in the public transportation sector. Military veterans are considered ideal candidates for transportation-related jobs, which often require specialized knowledge and technical expertise.
Veteran recruiting is considered a key strategy by Metro to fill numerous positions that will be needed to deliver the agency’s ambitious package of transportation improvements in the coming decades. Scores of new projects are now in various development stages thanks to overwhelming voter approval of the 2008 Measure R and 2016 Measure M transportation sales tax initiatives.
Metro also seeks to draw from the veteran candidate pool to replace retiring employees. Nearly 40 percent of the agency’s workforce will be eligible for retirement over the next three years. Metro anticipates needing additional staff for positions in project management, contract administration and bus and rail operations, among many others.
“As we transition to the Transportation Center of Excellence, we must develop our own uniquely qualified workforce, one that will build all the mega-projects we now have planned for Los Angeles County,” said Phillip A. Washington. “We need the best and brightest workers, and I’m confident that our veteran community — with its exceptional training, leadership, responsibility and technical skills — will help us meet our hiring needs now and, in the decades to come.”
Since its inception in 2012, Metro’s Veteran Hiring Program has employed 420 veterans. Program staff, who are also U.S. military veterans, regularly attend veteran community events as well as National Guard and Army Reserve drills throughout Southern California to provide military personnel with information about upcoming Metro job opportunities. The program aims to reach double digit recruitment percentages in future years.
The Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Veterans Act of 2017 established the program to recognize employer efforts to recruit, employ and retain veterans. There are different awards for small, medium and large employers. Awards are also divided into gold and platinum categories based on, among other things, the percentage of military veterans these employers hire annually.
For additional veteran hiring program information, visit the Metro website at https://www.metro.net/about/talent-management/veterans-hiring/.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies. Created in 1993, Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that transports about 1.3 million passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six rail lines. The agency also oversees bus, rail, highway and other mobility-related building projects and leads transportation planning and programming for Los Angeles County.