In a bid to cut training expenses and broaden recruitment, Orange County Transit District bus drivers will be certified through a new joint apprenticeship program involving Rancho Santiago College, district officials said this week.
OCTD is the first transit agency in the state to start such a program under state guidelines, the officials added.
After completing the apprenticeship, new drivers will receive state certification as journeymen coach operators.
OCTD drivers now complete a 6-week internal training and certification program that qualifies inexperienced applicants as drivers.
Under the new program, Rancho Santiago College will provide money for OCTD’s training of about 125 new drivers per year, as well as the retraining of the remaining 811 members of the transit district’s driver work force. Then the state will reimburse the college for about $161,000, 77% of which will later be passed on to OCTD for recovery of its classroom rental costs, parking fees and a $2.50 tuition fee for each journeyman driver.