On May 1, 2019, MPTA members met for a NTI training on Building Diversity Skills in the Transit Workplace. The interactive workshop led by NTI Trainer Jim Titcomb included group exercises in which participants explored possible scenarios they and their staff may encounter in their own transit organizations. Titcomb led discussions about communication and how diversity affects communication styles.
Major take-aways from the course included:
- Communication is comprised of three elements:
o 55% body language
o 38% tone of voice
o 7% word choice
- Operator assaults are up 28%
- Two kinds of riders:
o Both deserve a pleasant and safe ride
- A wheelchair is an extension of the person using it and should only be touched with permission.
Titcomb presented other possible scenarios including drivers interacting with riders with disabilities, employees overcoming language barriers, and accepting and welcoming new team members with diverse cultural backgrounds. Some fun suggestions for integrating more diversity and starting a conversation at participants home transit agencies included an international lunch day, highlight holidays and special dates from all cultures represented in the workplace when creating company calendars and newsletters, or get creative and get the conversation started.