News | Foothill Transit Hosts Local High School Youth as part of METRANS Good Neighbors FIT Program

Stop the Video



by Jacob Wong, USC Master of Public Policy, 2023

On February 25th, 38 9th through 11th grade students from USC Hybrid High College Prep along with 9 USC student leaders visited the headquarters of the Foothill Transit Agency in West Covina for an up close and personal experience with transit operations and innovations. The visit was part of the METRANS K-12 Futures in Transportation (FIT) Program, in partnership with Hybrid High and facilitated by a generous grant by the USC Good Neighbors Program. Over the course of the program, which ran from early February through mid-March, students had opportunities to participate in college classes and lectures at USC, attend seminars with professionals in STEM and transportation fields, and attend field trips to locations such as Foothill Transit.



Foothill Transit is a public transit service provider that operates throughout the San Gabriel and Pomona Valley regions of Los Angeles County. During the visit, students engaged with agency officials, toured Foothill Transit’s electric vehicle fleet, and viewed maintenance stations and other facilities at the site, among many other things. Foothill Transit employees described the many different and varied roles at the agency, ranging from business analytics to engineering and design and more.


The day was divided into four rotations: Foothill Transit Overview and Career Pathways led by Foothill CEO Doran Barnes and Deputy CEO Kevin Parks McDonald; Alternative Fuel Technology and Clean Energy, led by Roland Cordero, Director of Maintenance and Vehicle Technology; Facility Infrastructure and Project Management, led by Director of Facilities Sharlane Bailey and Project Manager Vicente Sauceda; Planning and Technology, led by Revenue Manager John Xie and Transit Planner Lourdes Álvarez.


For many of the students, this trip offered a perspective on public transportation that they had not previously considered.


Foothill Transit CEO Doran Barnes and General Manager, Foothill Transit Arcadia Operations
and Maintenance Facility Brian Otchis introduce students to Foothill Transit and to
Transportation Career Pathways


“They explained to us that there are more jobs than just bus drivers,” said Itzayana, a ninth grader at Hybrid High. “[For example] we learned about people who map out where the buses are going to go. Honestly, before I had never thought about it like that! They explained how they have different designs for where buses can stop and how far they can go.”


Students tour the Foothill Transit Facilities with Chief of Safety and Security, John Curley


The visit gave the students a chance to envision a future career for themselves in the transportation industry. 97% of students attending Hybrid High are African American or Latino, and the opportunity to interact with agency employees who come from similar backgrounds was significant for many of the students, including 11th grader, Wendy.


“My favorite part was seeing how diverse the transportation industry is,” she said. “There were Asian, Black, Latino men and women; it’s a good representation of the City of Los Angeles which they serve.”



When asked her favorite part of the trip, 11th grader Mia responded, “being able to see the maintenance for the buses and how they work.   I didn’t think about [a career in transportation] before, but now it’s kind of stuck in the back of my head.”



Students credited their hosts at Foothill Transit with leaving a strong impression. Each agency member who spoke with the Hybrid High students shared his or her own personal career journey and experiences working in public transit. They encouraged the students, many of whom are in STEM-related classes and programs at school, to pursue higher education and careers in the STEM field for the opportunities they provide. 


For many at Foothill Transit, including CEO Doran Barnes, the Hybrid High visit was not only a chance to showcase the agency’s fleet and facilities, but also to invest in the next generation. 


“It was a true treat having the students here from USC Hybrid High,” said Barnes. “Transit is all about opening doors and providing mobility, both actual and metaphorical. Engaging with these future professionals was eye opening for all of us. We can’t wait to see where they will go and where they will take us.”



About the Author:

Jacob Wong is a first-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree at the Price School of Public Policy. He is curious about issues in urban policy and transportation planning. He is a recent LA transplant, and in his free time he enjoys exploring the area and the local food scene.