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87 turnover rate of 24%, down from 28% the previous year. Increased training wages. Employee referrals are a major component of the agency's Paperless application process. recruitment strategy. SPT employees receive notices of all job The corporate Qualification Department reviews all appli- announcements. Employees earn a $25 bonus if a referred cations and conducts criminal background and reference applicant is hired and successfully completes 3 months of ser- checks. This department employs highly trained individu- vice. In the 12 months ending in May 2009, 42% of the new als who support the contract locations by ensuring that all hires had been referred by current or past SPT employees. applicants meet company standards before they are inter- Thirty-six percent of new hires stated they learned about job viewed and possibly given a conditional job offer. opportunities through the agency's website, job fairs, and other Placement of 1-800 numbers on the back of company vehi- media sources. Eleven percent of new hires were referred by cles that will provide information about hiring opportunities. WorkSource, an agency that provides an array of employment All dispatchers are trained in communicating with poten- and training services designed to enhance the effectiveness and tial applicants. coordination of employer and job-seeker services in the Seat- tle area. Eleven percent of new hires were referred by a neigh- boring transportation company. Comprehensive Pre-Employment Screening In an effort to ensure the greatest coverage of information Pre-employment screening is needed to ensure that appli- about SPT job openings, the agency advertises on 13 websites cants meet regulatory and contract requirements that often and newspapers in the area. Websites include Solid Ground's apply to the provision of ADA paratransit service. Pre- website, NativeChat.net, Craigslist, and Careerbuilder.com. employment screening is also an important part of identifying The agency has also established free links with many other candidates who are most likely to be successful operators. websites in the area. Effective screening can also help lower training drop-out rates Job openings are regularly posted at seven technical and and reduce training costs. community colleges as well as at three universities in the area. Comprehensive pre-employment screening can include ref- Through email distribution, job opportunity notices are sent erence checks and verification of employment, credit checks, to more than 100 local nonprofit agencies. In addition, job and education and credential checks. Research conducted dur- opportunity bulk mailings are sent to more than 375 establish- ing this study revealed that systems also often require criminal ments that include nonprofit agencies, community centers, record checks, motor vehicle records/driver abstracts, a DOT- libraries, churches, schools, employment resource centers, and physical, drug and alcohol testing, and sometimes a CDL Seattle Housing Authority facility sites. The agency has also license with endorsements. The literature search noted one conducted recruitment fairs with paratransit agencies that are example of a private company that requires candidates to sign reducing their workforces. a screening release to gain access to credit records and infor- One unique recruitment strategy used by SPT is to credit mation regarding DOT/FTA drug and alcohol testing viola- employment hours from a former employer if a new employee tions, including pre-employment tests. The literature also has paratransit bus operator experience. Starting wages at SPT noted two private companies that present standardized crite- are based on hours worked as a paratransit operator. The ria for determining a candidate's approval of all of the required employee can request and provide payroll records of hours background checks and offer conditional employment if the worked from the previous employer and submit that informa- process becomes time consuming (43). tion to SPT. New operators with previous experience must still In addition, two private companies reported conducting a complete the same 6-month probationary period as all other new employees do. pre-qualifications interview prior to the application process which includes a pre-screening of driving experience, driving A National Paratransit Contractor. One national pro- and criminal history, licensure, and age requirements. Ini- vider of paratransit services supplied details about actions it tial applicant screenings are conducted through a telephone takes to attract the best candidates for ADA paratransit vehi- interview. Both companies also include a review of the job cle operator positions. The company states that the use of description with the candidate in its initial applicant screen- these approaches may vary across operating locations depend- ing process. ing on the unique characteristics of the labor pool or resource One provider of ADA paratransit service for the Denver availability within each area. In addition to targeting health RTD uses the review of the motor vehicle record (MVR) as the care workers and retirees, the company includes the following first pre-employment screening action. Previous job experi- as recruitment methods: ence, types of jobs, and spelling and grammar on the applica- tion are all noted. Because the computer for submitting appli- Employee referral bonus plan. cations is in the front office, the recruiter assesses how long Sign-on bonuses. it takes the applicant to go through the online application