Traverse City News and Events

BATA Announces $10,000 Recruiting And Retention Incentive To Combat Staff Shortages

By Craig Manning | May 14, 2022

Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) announced plans on Friday to launch a brand-new $10,000 incentive aimed at recruiting more staff, including drivers, dispatchers, and bus mechanics. The announcement is the latest big move from a local organization to combat significant labor shortages in and around northern Michigan. Last month, Short’s Brewing Company in Bellaire announced it was purchasing a motel to house summer staff.

According to a press release announcing the incentive, BATA services “are currently operating at around 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels due to staffing shortages.” Those shortages are becoming more pressing as local tourism and economic activity continuing their return to pre-pandemic “normal,” bringing growing transportation needs with them. “The community is asking for more service, greater geographic coverage, and more buses more often,” the press release continued. “Additional staff is needed to meet these demands and bring back additional service.”

The $10,000 recruiting and retention incentive will be paid for by federal funds that BATA received “to help public transit agencies recover from the impacts of the pandemic,” per BATA Executive Director Kelly Dunham. The BATA Board of Directors voted to use the money to fund the program.

All new and current BATA employees will have the option to take the $10,000 incentive in exchange for “a three-year commitment to the organization.” It’s an aggressive move that BATA officials say is necessary to meet the needs of the community and provide reliable transportation access to everything from jobs to medical appointments to grocery shopping.

“BATA provides too valuable a service to our community to not continue to look for ways to attract and retain great individuals to we can return more services to the community,” said Chris Davis, BATA’s director of administrative services. “Offering a $10,000 hiring and retention incentive is just one way to get us back to full staffing levels.”

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