California State University, Long Beach
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CSULB Awarded FHWA Center

Published: November 3, 2014

Committed to keeping the Southwest Region moving, the Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT) at CSULB has received a major federal award to look at various transportation issues throughout the southwestern U.S. and seek ways that educational opportunities can improve them.

The university has been named the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Southwest Regional Surface Transportation Workforce Center of Excellence (SRSTWC), effective this month. The center will cover eight states—California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas.

“A lot of work went into securing this center and it’s a great honor,” said Thomas O’Brien, CITT Executive Director and METRANS Associate Director. “We have a lot of work in front of us and a lot of great individuals providing assistance.” Along with the CITT, additional team members include the University of Southern California (USC), Texas A&M University Transportation Institute (TTI), ICF International and the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI).

The center’s key objectives are to facilitate partnerships between federal, state, regional and local departments of transportation and education, industry and other public and private stakeholders involved in transportation planning, operations and education.

Over four years, the center will identify workforce and training needs for various transportation sectors; evaluate different options for workforce education and development across the educational spectrum of traditional and non-traditional learning communities; and develop a variety of educational offerings that will be tested for their appropriateness in different settings throughout the region and, by extension, the entire nation.

The team will be led by the METRANS partnership of CSULB and USC with the project management the responsibility of team members from the CITT. O’Brien will serve as the SRSTWC director with Genevieve Giuliano, senior associate dean of the Sol Price School of Public Policy at USC and director of METRANS, being the center’s senior researcher and project advisor.

Stephen Lantz, a CITT project manager with more than 30 years of public sector transportation planning and management experience, will coordinate stakeholder development and outreach.

The team also includes two expert advisors—Susan Gautsch, a professor at USC nationally recognized for her distance-learning expertise, who will advise on non-traditional workforce development delivery methods; and Roberto Suro, the director of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at USC, who will advise on workforce development challenges and opportunities in diverse communities.

The team also is strengthened by three nationally recognized sub-applicants—TTI’s Mark Coppock, who will lead the center’s website development and administration; NOCTI’s Fran Beauman, who will lead curriculum development for grades 6-12; and ICF International senior staff, including Brian Cronin, who is an expert in transportation industry workforce development and will lead the labor force demand analysis tasks.

“We have great challenges and opportunities,” said O’Brien. “The size of the region—which includes the nation’s two most populous states—and the diversity of its population provide an opportunity and a challenge. It’s a unique regional laboratory in which to study workforce needs tied to both urban and rural transportation services, transportation in and through border states, and trade gateways and corridors.”

About CITT
The Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT) is dedicated to delivering education programs, innovative research, and community outreach in the area of goods movement. CITT is the Long Beach home for three major research centers: METRANS Transportation Center, a U.S. Department of Transportation-designated university transportation center; the UC Davis-led National Center for Sustainable Transportation; and METROFREIGHT, a Volvo Research and Education Foundations Center of Excellence in Urban Freight based at the University of Southern California.

Its research portfolio features policy analysis in the areas of trade and transportation as well as workforce development. Its outreach programs include educational forums including the nationally recognized State of the Trade and Transportation Town Hall series, research conferences such as the International Urban Freight Conference, and media-based efforts including podcasts and newspaper columns that engage the broader community in the discussion surrounding international trade and transportation. CITT’s education programs include credit and non-credit programs in integrated logistics and feature the award-winning Global Logistics Specialist (GLS) program and the Marine Terminal Operations Professional (MTOP) designation, the only program of its kind in the country.

–Shayne Schroeder