Press Release5/18/2022

COTA Wins Workforce Employer of the Year Award for Its Community Workforce Development Initiatives

This week, the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) selected the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) as Workforce Employer of the Year during its annual conference in Las Vegas. The award recognizes a private-sector employer or employer consortium that partners and collaborates with their local workforce partners to create a positive impact in their local area and as a result, has benefited other employers, workers, and the community.

“This national recognition celebrates the important work COTA is doing to help improve our team and train the next generation of skilled professionals to adapt to changing workforce needs,” said Sindy Mondesir, COTA’s Chief People Officer. “COTA is not only implementing programs to upskill employees but also working to create a diverse workforce that represents the community it serves every day.”

In addition to its commitment to diversity and equity in hiring – 60% of COTA employees are African American and 33% are women, including 50% of COTA directors – COTA has established workforce development initiatives that continue to provide a pipeline of talent from local communities.

Most recently, 11 Vehicle Maintenance Pre-Apprentices and one IT Intern completed COTA’s High School Pre-Apprentice and Internship program, an eight-month program that partners area high school and technical school students with coaches and mentors engaging in work-based learning opportunities and career readiness workshops with COTA. Seven of those apprentices will soon join COTA’s Vehicle Maintenance Apprenticeship Training Program where they receive paid work experience, classroom instruction, mentorship, and a nationally recognized credential to increase their marketability and job security.

Other workforce development initiatives from COTA include:

  • Employee upskilling opportunities through Ohio’s TechCred program, where they learn new skills needed for a tech-infused economy and operation;
  • Tuition reimbursement for all full-time employees earning college degrees or other higher education that helps them advance in their careers;
  • Implementing COTA’s Journey to Leadership program, which provides participating employees with college-level management courses and leadership training;
  • Training and coaching for emerging leaders within the organization;
  • Job training opportunities for students, women, minorities, unemployed adults, and formerly incarcerated individuals with construction partners at COTA’s primary transit facility renovation.