Evaluation of the Valley Transportation Authority’s DO IT! Program A “Ladders of Opportunity Initiative” Program Funded by the Federal Transit Administration

Evaluation of the Valley Transportation Authority’s DO IT! Program A “Ladders of Opportunity Initiative” Program Funded by the Federal Transit Administration

Abstract: 

The U.S. Department of Transportation has increasingly demonstrated interest in developing programs that will enhance the workforce capacity of future transportation systems. To that end, the Department sponsored the 2015 Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development program, directed by the Federal Transit Administration. This program sought to enhance the availability of skilled workers from targeted groups, including the underserved, underemployed, and/or minority groups into possible transit-oriented career paths. One of the 19 programs selected for funding was the “DO IT!” project proposed and developed by the Valley Transit Authority (VTA). VTA proposed to create an innovative education and training program that focused on attracting and ultimately hiring underserved, underemployed, and/or minority groups in its service area of Santa Clara County. The program was created with two major goals in mind: (1) to enable VTA to work with local youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity to be exposed to a career in public transportation – specifically in the area of transportation planning; and (2) to provide a ladder of opportunity into the middle class which will help strengthen our workforce and our intercity communities by building the critical skillset needed to maintain a competitive and efficient public transportation service. This report provides an evaluation of the “Do It! Program and presents recommendations for program replication or improvement.

Authors: 

Peter J. Haas, Ph.D.

Dr. Peter Haas is an emeritus professor at San José State University and served as Education Director of the Master of Science in Transportation (MSTM) program at the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) from 2001-2017. He earned a Ph.D. in Political Science (Public Policy and Public Administration) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1985. A former director of the SJSU Master of Public Administration program, he also has consulted at every level of government and for nonprofit agencies. As a Research Associate for MTI, Dr. Haas has authored numerous reports and other publications covering transportation, including topics relevant to high speed rail workforce development and station planning, as well as transportation finance and tax initiatives. Haas is also co-author (with team member J. Fred Springer) of two editions of the text Applied Policy Research: Concepts and Cases.

J. Fred Springer, Ph.D.

Dr. J. Fred Springer is an emeritus professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he was Director of the doctoral program in Public Policy Analysis. He also served as Director of Research at EMT Associates, Inc., a pioneering evaluation and policy research firm in Sacramento, CA. With EMT, he led the National Evaluation of High Risk Youth Programs that won the American Evaluation Association’s Evaluation Study of the Year Award in 2002. He has published numerous evaluation and research reports, authored more than 70 journal articles and monographs, and co-authored five books including two editions of Applied Policy research: Concepts and Cases (with team member Peter Haas).

Published: 

March 2018