ASE has a partnership in the certification process. That partnership is connected with the American College Testing Program (ACT). ACT is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides more than a hundred assessment, research, information and program management services in the broad areas of education and workforce development. In 2002, ACT officially acknowledged its growing role in supporting both education and the workforce. Though designed to meet a wide array of needs, all ACT programs and services have one guiding purpose and that is to help people achieve education and workplace success.
In March of 2004, a 20-member panel consisting of both transit labor and management met for the first time in regards to the TCRP Project E-6, Transit Bus Mechanics: Building for Success - The ASE Transit Bus Maintenance Certification Test Series. The purpose of the committee was to oversee the development and implementation of the ASE Transit Bus Certification Tests. Much has transpired since that day in March 2004. A series of meetings was conducted, using Subject Matter Experts (SME) from various transit authorities to establish related work tasks in relationship to the following ASE Transit Test Areas:
- *Transit Bus Electrical/Electronics
- *Transit Bus Brake Systems
- *Transit Bus HVAC Transit Bus Diesel Engines
- *Transit Bus – L2, Electronic Diesel Engine Diagnosis Specialist
- *Transit Bus Steering and Suspension
- *Transit Bus Transmission and Drive Train
- *Transit Bus Preventive Maintenance Inspection (PMI)
There have been, and will continue to be, subsequent meetings of SMEs in order to develop the questions that will be used in the Transit Bus Series Certification Tests. As a result of these question development workshops, in May of 2006, the first ever ASE Transit Bus Certification Tests made their debut. Transit Bus Brakes and Transit Bus Electronics/ Electrical were the first two tests debuted because of their importance to our industry. Approximately 700 mechanics/ technicians registered for the brake test and approximately 600 registered for the electrical/electronics tests. In June of 2006, a working group of experts met to establish the passing scores for each of the tests. As a result, approximately 400 and approximately 350 respectively, received their certifications in each of the areas.
In November of 2006, both the transit Bus Brake and Electrical/Electronic tests will be offered again. In May of 2007, the Transit Bus HVAC, Diesel Engines and L2 Diesel Engine Electronic Diagnosis Specialist Tests will make their debut. With five tests soon to be done, the evaluation of what number of tests will constitute the achievement of Master Transit Bus Technician, ibelieve it's time to ask the question: What does the ASE Transit Bus Technician Credential mean and how does it affect our industry?
In attempting to answer that question, we must consider what has occurred or been accomplished so far as a result of the ASE test development:
The ASE Test Series is supported by the two major transit unions; both the Amalgamated Transit Union and Transit Worker Union Internationals support the ASE Tests and Certification Process. However, they both have concerns. Their main concerns include that sufficient training, as well as training resources, be made available to provide individuals the opportunity to pass the ASE test series and that the results of the tests be used in a positive, not a negative manner.
The unions are equal partners in the development of not only the tests, but the training material as well. As indicated previously, the TCRP Project E-6 oversight committee is a joint union/management committee. Many of the SMEs used to identify the tasks and write the questions were union members. Bob Hykaway, ATU International vice president, serves as the co-chair along with Union vice-co chairpersons on the various committees of the APTA Bus Maintenance Training Standards Working Group. Union SMEs were involved in the development of study guides for the ASE Transit Test Series which were published by Delmar Publishing.
In regards to training and training resources, there continues to be significant progress in the following: