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Scores turn out for MBTA job fair held in Mattapan

Tanisha Bhat
Scores turn out for MBTA job fair held in Mattapan
MBTA General Manager Philip Eng chats with a job applicant during the agency’s job fair at Jubilee Christian Church in Mattapan Saturday. COURTESY PHOTO

Oswaldo Cubilette is at a crossroads in his career. He sees no future in his current job as a materials handler for a freight company. Recently, an opening with a plumbing company seemed promising.

“Everything was great, but I wasn’t able to take the job due to my financial circumstances because it was a commission-based job and I’m leaning more towards looking for a salary or hourly pay,” he said.

Last Saturday, Cubilette joined dozens of other job-seekers at a mobile job recruitment event held by the MBTA at Jubilee Christian Church in Mattapan. The event — called “HR on the Go” — included a customized MBTA bus with interview stations and computers inside to make the application process smoother for prospective T employees.

“A good friend of mine told me about the MBTA and I am just here seeking information and to find out more about the trade and the plumbing aspect of it, which is my interest,” he said. Cubilette added that he was interested in working for the MBTA because the positions offer either an hourly rate or a salary.

MBTA human resource workers answer questions from job seekers. COURTESY PHOTO

MBTA General Manager Philip Eng said the event was created to make it easier for prospective employees to apply for open positions and learn more about what MBTA has to offer in terms of careers.

“It may not be easy for people to have access to a computer. It may not be easy for people to have the ability to come into our offices and fill out applications,” Eng said. “By doing this, we’re getting out into the community where they live, and letting them know that not only are we hiring, you have great opportunities, and we want to help you through the process.” 

The MBTA is looking to fill job openings for all levels, from upper-level management to entry-level positions. As part of its renewed hiring efforts, the agency is offering a sign-on bonus of $7,500 for safety critical positions, annual tuition reimbursement of $10,000 and almost $8,000 for bus drivers to earn their CDL licenses. 

“What we want to do is bring these opportunities directly to the communities we serve,” Tom Waye, chief human resources officer at the MBTA, said. “It’s about not only branding who we are as the MBTA, but also we’ve really been talking about how a job can turn into a career. How we can take your skill set, train you and have you prepared to do a plethora of things.”

Eng said the MBTA is looking to hire more people to help restore the level of service offered in the past.

“What we need to do now is to turn these applications into real hires, and then we’re going to start to see things turning around,” Eng said. “And we’re going to get it back to that point where we’re going to have more people than we can hire, I hope.”

On Saturday, people came from near and far looking for potential opportunities with the MBTA. Some even wanted to change career paths in order to work for the T.

Jocelyn Coombs, 57, of Milton, said she has been an administrative manager at Massachusetts General Hospital for eight years and wanted to pivot her career to do something different.

“I don’t necessarily want to go into management,” Coombs said. “I want to be an individual contributor because management has come with a considerable amount of baggage.”

She said she hopes to earn either equal to or higher pay than in her current job at MGH.

“Maybe something in dispatch or some kind of administrative function, not necessarily a bus operator. I would consider a streetcar operator where there is not much interaction with the patrons,” Coombs said.

Leonardo Barrera, 30, currently works as a truck driver and said he heard about the job fair from the radio.

“Honestly, I heard about the bonus,” he said. “So then I started looking online at everything they offer and all the benefits that the company offers, and I came here to find out more information about it.”

Barrera added that he was interested in working for the MBTA part time in addition to his current job.

“I looked into the bus driver position, and I saw they offer part time. So I say I have enough time where I can do both, if possible. Make a little bit extra money,” he said.

Frantz Pierre, 40, is an outreach worker and previously ran for Cambridge City Council in 2021. He said he is looking for a position in the human resources department.

“I am looking to be a part of [the MBTA’s] community to help out with employment and helping out the community,” Pierre said.

Eng emphasized that the MBTA has a lot of job opportunities available, and promotional opportunities that would allow employees to grow.

“I want people to know that there is a career ladder here,” Eng said. “And it’s a very good, rewarding career ladder and you have the opportunity to go from trade to trade … as well as other opportunities just in transportation in general.”

The next three “HR on the Go” events will take place on April 22 in Quincy, April 29 in Lynn, and May 6 in East Boston.

careers, jobs, MBTA, Philip Eng