October 30, 2009 - - Praising his classmates as “intelligent and assertive, yet very low key and eager to learn,” Kenneth Imani was one of 22 students to receive his certificate of completion of the MTA Bridge program at Metro’s Los Angeles headquarters Friday. The group completed a two-week, 70-hour training session that stressed bus operator preparation, teamwork, and career advancement through lifelong learning and a commitment to professionalism.
Imani used the microphone to share with project partners, students, instructors, and Metro staff his reflections on his classmates. “I have been witness to the burning desire in every one of my classmates wanting to learn more through participation in every discussion and try relentlessly to be the best they can be. All have set goals for themselves and plan to use this opportunity as a stepping stone to advance in life and reach their dreams.”
Another graduate, Charles Boyle, stepped behind the podium to offer his thoughts. “You know I am very excited to put that Metro uniform on,” he said, “and start serving the community with a great big smile…I learned that my education is still important…I also learned to work in groups and as a team.”
Also on hand to speak with the group and offer encouragement was former student and current bus operator Alisa Allen. A single mother of eight, Allen failed in her first attempt to become a driver as she was unable to pass the initial training. When Metro gave her a second chance, she was referred to the Bridge Program, and passed her interview. Citing the program for her success, she told the group, "My training here went far beyond the classroom. It helped me gain study and test-taking skills while giving me a renewed sense of self-confidence. For the first time in my life, I was able to break out of my shell, walk to the front of the classroom, and present information to a room full of students.
Now working out of the Chatsworth office, Allen typifies the long string of graduates who have finished the Bridge training and have moved forward to successful careers with the Metro organization.
Showing ongoing support and industry project partnership, Metro CEO Art Leahy attended his third consecutive Bridge graduation, sharing his both the challenges and joys of a career in transportation. Leahy started his career with as a bus operator 38 years ago and continues to tout the gratification one can receive with a career in the Metro organization.
The Metro Bridge project, which started in the summer of 2006, has enjoyed a high rate of success, graduating 97% of all enrolled participants. Of those that finished the Bridge and Metro's Operations Central Instruction training, 90% continue to be employed as Metro bus operators.
This program continues to demonstrate the outstanding partnership between Metro, the Wilshire-Metro WorkSource Center, and Los Angeles Valley College.
The Metro Graduating Class