TWC’s Apprenticeship Academy Shines in the Sunshine State

Posted March 2024

TWC held an inaugural Apprenticeship Academy in partnership with the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in Tampa. The two-day program was designed to help public transit agencies in Florida develop registered apprenticeship programs for technicians and coach operators. Participating labor-management partners were: City of Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) and ATU Local 1579; Hillsborough Transit Authority (HART) and ATU Local 1593; Broward County Transportation Department and ATU Local 1591; Votran (Volusia County) and Teamsters Local 185; Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works and TWU Local 291; and Palm Tran (Palm Beach County) and ATU Local 1577. 


For the introductory panel on day one, TWC’s Senior Workforce Development Advisor Maurice Beard and Senior Policy Analyst Karitsa Holdzkom presented an overview of the registered apprenticeship model and its benefits for career advancement in public transit to seven agencies and their unions in attendance. After the opening, Maurice and Karitsa were joined by others, as TWC’s Executive Director Jack Clark facilitated a discussion that included Career Source Tampa Bay’s Karoline Guerrero and Mario Rodriquez, Florida Department of Education’s Steven Lindas, Hillsborough Community College’s John Meeks, a presentation from the Florida Office of Apprenticeship, and information on funding for apprenticeships. 


On day two, TWC staff and Amalgamated Transit Union’s (ATU) International’s Director of Apprenticeships and Workforce Development Jamaine Gibson facilitated an in-depth discussion on the logistics of registered apprenticeship based on occupation. Attendees split into one group for bus maintenance apprenticeship and one for bus operator apprenticeship to specify how the programs are developed and implemented. Two facilitators for each group simplified the steps required to create a program that works for their agency so that the Florida Office of Apprenticeship can approve it as a registered program. 


Participants left the Academy with a game plan to implement upon returning to their agencies, a process that, as CUTR’s Workforce Development Manager Stephanie Lewis commented, is “helping agencies grapple with real needs and real challenges.” TWC staff scheduled follow-up meetings with each labor/management group to continue helping agencies and their unions as they work towards a registered apprenticeship program.  


To learn more about the Apprenticeship Academy or registered apprenticeship programs in public transit contact Karitsa Holdzkom at

ATU's Jamaine Gibson, CUTR's Stephanie Lewis, TWC's Jack Clark, Karitsa Holdzkom, and Maurice Beard

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