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Great Careers at LA Metro: Our First Event of Fall 2019

Saturday, October 26, 2019

by Adylbek Abdykalikov, USC, IPPAM 2020

Written in collaboration with USC Price dual degree Planning and Public Administration student Beatris Megerdichian and USC Price Master of Planning student Samirita Dabade

 

On Wednesday, September 18, METRANS PSR welcomed guest speakers from LA Metro to kickstart the Fall 2019 event series. This seminar focused on careers at LA Metro, attracting many students interested in the transportation sector.

 

Two outstanding professionals, Shalonda Baldwin, the Interim Executive Officer of Diversity and Economic Opportunity, and Patrice McElroy, the Executive Officer, Talent Manager, both at LA Metro (Metro), came to USC to share insights on how to better select, prepare for, pursue, and advance a successful career – and not just in transportation. The speakers actively engaged with students both throughout the presentation and during the Q&A session, and many students stayed well after the event ended to meet and speak personally with them.

 

Shalonda Baldwin began her career in the Office of the Mayor of San Francisco and then at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, before joining Metro.  She has held various positions at Metro and now leads the Project and Economic Development Management team. In this role, Baldwin guides various innovative initiatives including the Pilot Business Interruption Fund and the  Crenshaw/LAX Business Solution Center.

 

 Executive Officer, Talent Manager Patrice McElroy also serves as the Vice-Chair of American Public Transportation Association’s Labor and Employee Relations Subcommittee. She believes that having an agile, innovative workforce is key to building an extraordinary transportation agency.  McElroy shared the mission of LA Metro and its recent initiatives, such as the Join the Movement campaign, designed to get people thinking about the different ways to get around the LA County region. More specifically, this effort is targeted to make people think about “choosing to walk, bike, and ride together, rather than drive alone,” she added.

 

Baldwin touched upon the most ambitious Metro initiative to date, Twenty-Eight by 28.  Announced by Metro Board Chair and Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, this initiative highlights twenty-eight Metro projects for potential completion by the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Metro Board approved the project list and has begun work on these selected projects.

 

The speakers also highlighted specific job opportunities available for students to start a career with LA Metro including positions for both transportation planners and engineers. The organization offers various career pathways focusing on ability, equity, impact on community, and workforce development. One notable program they shared, the WIN-LA workforce development program. is focused on building opportunities to enter the transportation industry. WIN-LA is designed to be a collaborative partnership between Metro and those institutions and organizations interested in helping job seekers, companies, and local communities through demand-driven workforce services.

 

LA Metro programs are designed to cater to a diverse group of people willing to start their transportation careers. One example is the Women Build Metro Los Angeles program, developed to provide an entry point for women into transportation careers.  Another is the Veterans Program, aimed to assist veterans to transition into civilian careers. Some other Metro programs, such as Transportation Career Academy Program (TCAP) and Transportation Workforce Institute (TWI), provide internship opportunities for high school students.

 

Shalonda Baldwin and Patrice McElroy

 

For the students in the audience, the speakers emphasized on the Entry-Level Trainee Program (ELTP), which drew most of the attendees’ attention. Since many students attending the event were soon-to-be graduating and on the job market, they found this information incredibly valuable. ELTP, the speakers shared, is designed to provide recent college graduates an opportunity to gain work experience and job skills to qualify for an entry-level or full-time position within Metro or another company in the transportation industry.

 

 “I enjoyed learning about LA Metro’s Career Pathways, a set of workforce development programs for all abilities. Of the programs, I was most excited to learn about the Metro’s Internship program, Entry-Level Trainee Program, and the various Transportation Planner positions,” shared Beatris Megerdichian, a dual Master of Planning and Master of Public Administration student at the Price School, USC. “These programs are pipelines to great opportunities specifically for students looking to gain relevant work experience and begin careers at LA Metro. One day, I look forward to joining the team!”  she added.

 

 “It was interesting to learn that LA Metro, in addition to the MIP and ELTP program, that act as a gateway to transportation planning, also provide resources for career development through career fairs and short training sessions for students and fresh graduates participating in these programs,” remarked USC Price Master of Planning student, and a frequent attendee of our events Samirita Dabade.  “These programs act as continued education and training in the professional realm, along with the work experience graduate students gain. These opportunities make it so much more than just work experience.”