Apprenticeship at GoTriangle gave student an entry into a full-time professional job
GoTriangle Data Reporting Analyst Chris Clark says getting into the Public Transportation Internship/Apprenticeship program helped him land his first professional full-time job but also in time helped GoTriangle streamline its data reporting to the National Transit Database.
Clark was a graduate student working on his master’s in regional planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006 when he began a North Carolina Department of Transportation-funded apprenticeship at GoTriangle, then called Triangle Transit.
“So, I actually was in my second year in graduate school and saw this opportunity to get some experience, hands-on, working in the field,” Clark recalls. “At that time, Triangle Transit was starting to grow, and they were starting to recognize the need for someone to be able to collect data and to be able to manage it.”
At GoTriangle, Chris was assigned to the Operations department and tasked with building GoTriangle’s bus stop database, which included an inventory of the amenities offered at each stop, from benches to garbage bins. He says the apprenticeship experience helped him get hired as a land-use planner with the City of Norfolk, Virginia, in 2007.
“I’d always been interested in transit, and that apprenticeship actually had helped me gain some experience,” he says.
Two years later, Clark returned to GoTriangle, working part-time on conducting passenger counts. In 2011, GoTriangle made his position a full-time data technician job dedicated to reporting information to the National Transit Database and the state government.
“So, after seeing the benefits of having someone who was dedicated to keeping records and data, where they could easily be accessed – that was what led to them realizing that there was a need for this position,” he says..
Clark has since been promoted to his current position, where he works on GoTriangle’s Quality Assurance Team. As the importance of collecting and analyzing data has grown in transit, so have his responsibilities at GoTriangle. Within the team, he is charged with working closely with Planning and Operations, a good fit given his education and experience. His work – and the team’s – continues to change as GoTriangle stays up with the latest transit technologies to benefit its customers and employees.
“Right now, everything’s just growing and evolving,” he says of his work. “With everything we’ve had to endure, especially over the last three years, I have had to adapt, and I’m happy to have a great team with me to push through this together.”