The Metro Bridge Academy program prepared graduate Ivor Bok to become a bus operator for Metro
In a corporation yard in Chatsworth, Ivor Bok reviews his pre-trip checklist, the steps he takes to prepare his 40-foot bus to drive passengers traveling from Warner Center to the Burbank Airport and stops in-between.

“It’s a nice, long route,” he said. “Lots of turns.”

Ivor is a graduate of the Los Angeles Valley College Metro Bridge Academy, a 70-hour training program designed to help job seekers become bus drivers for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

The City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD) provides funding for the program, a key transportation training program at the City’s Workforce Strategy Center at Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC).

“It’s been a God send for us,” said Don Mackenzie, manager of transportation operations for Metro Transportation Division 8 in the San Fernando Valley, where Ivor is assigned. “You’re a fine operator,” he said to Ivor. “He makes us proud.”

Ivor learned about the Metro Bridge Academy in early September. Ivor has a bachelor’s degree in business from California State University Northridge and worked for 17 years in administrative roles in the finance industry, but he was living on savings after losing a sales job. The program came at just the right time for Ivor, who as his family’s sole breadwinner, worried about how he would provide for his wife and their two sons, including a son with special needs.

“I ran out of money,” he said. “Things were getting really tough.”

The opportunity with Metro opened a whole new career pathway for him with room for growth, he said. Last November, Ivor passed the interview to train at Metro’s Operation Central Instruction to become a bus operator. He is close to finishing his probationary period and is currently taking a class provided by Metro on contemporary issues related to electric vehicles.

With the Olympics approaching in 2028 and Metro’s role in preparing transportation for the event, Ivor said working for Metro offers him a chance to be part of a larger purpose.

“I’m excited about the future,” Ivor said. “I feel like I’m part of something big.”

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This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of 4/2/2018. Read this issue and more.