New Orleans RTA to hire automotive technology program graduates from Louisiana State Penitentiary

Dec. 10, 2021
The transit authority is partnering with JOB1 Career Solutions to create a job training program for non-violent offenders who have completed a mechanic apprenticeship program.

New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is building a talent pipeline and assisting non-violent offenders re-enter society through a new partnership to develop on the job training.

“This groundbreaking partnership is indicative of the RTA Board of Commissioners commitment and advocacy for involvement in the region’s workforce development efforts, particularly those focused on restorative justice,” said Flozell Daniels, Jr., RTA Board of Commissioners chairman. “As one of the largest public sector agencies in the region, we feel it is our duty to expand on our legacy of creating thriving wage jobs for New Orleanians, their families and our entire community.”

New Orleans RTA, with JOB1 Career Solutions, will create on the job training (OTJT) for offenders who successfully complete the requirements of the Louisiana State Penitentiary’s Auto Mechanic Apprenticeship Program upon release. The RTA will initially hire bus mechanic and body repair technician trainees, both at $23.67 per hour, up to 40 hours per week for a six-month trial period. The agency hopes to expand this program to additional career pathways in 2022.

The JOB1 OTJT partnership is available through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which is coordinated through the Louisiana Workforce Commission. New Orleans RTA will be reimbursed 50 percent of the participants/trainee’s regular hourly wage excluding payment hours not worked for sick, vacation, holiday, lunch, personal, jury duty, and overtime hours up to a maximum of 40 hours per week as a participant in the program.

RTA says it will compensate participants at equivalent wages and benefits afforded regular employees and intends to transition successful participants to permanent employees once the six-month training program is completed.

“As New Orleans and the nation continues to rebuild its workforce since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the RTA is more focused than ever on building a pipeline of employees who are committed to our regions historic transit system and the riders we serve,” said RTA CEO Alex Z. Wiggins. “By tapping into the progressive re-entry training programs offered by Louisiana’s Department of Public Safety and Corrections, RTA is not only building a highly skilled workforce, but also helping justice involved individuals re-enter society successfully. This opportunity will allow them to earn thriving wages to support their families, which will in turn build community and improve the quality of life for all.”

“On the job training is a key part of LWC’s core mission of not just putting people to work, but helping people get the skills they need to thrive in a new career,” said Ava Cates, Louisiana Workforce Commission secretary. “This partnership helps folks re-enter society with purpose and gives them direction and skills they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

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