Did you know that Alstom provides Automated People Mover services via AirTrain to and from John F. Kennedy International and Newark Airports? At JFK Airport, more than 300 Alstom employees work on-site, operating and maintaining the system, ensuring the safe and efficient travel of an average of more than 50,000 passengers per day through the airport.
As part of its commitment to the local community, the Alstom JFK Service Delivery Center provides job seekers with past involvement in the criminal justice system access to job opportunities through its participation in the Council for Airport Opportunity’s Office of Second Chance Employment (OSCE), an initiative sponsored by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).
Stacey Gilbert, Senior External Relations Client Manager, PANYNJ, explains, “It is our goal not only to hire these candidates but to ensure that they maintain their employment and are supported in remaining productive members of the community.”
Since 2020, 80 people have been hired by Alstom as Spotters from the Second Chance program at the JFK airport site, with 50 currently active. The Spotters receive unique training opportunities which also help in improving their confidence and support their career development on their path to rehabilitation.
Andre (Apollo) Parker, Alstom Construction Supervisor Spotter, is a great example. “In 1997, I had a misdemeanor charge, and even though I didn’t do significant jail time, it has followed me around for decades,” shared Apollo. “It has been a real struggle to get a real job, one that allows me to actually earn a living wage.” But working with Alstom, Apollo said, “has been a great opportunity all around. They call it a second chance for a reason. It doesn’t matter if you fall; it matters if you can get back up. Now, I can say that I am proud of myself and my work.”
Monique Edwards, Alstom Senior Project and Customer Service Manager, tells us, “It is very inspiring to be a part of the partnership with the Port Authority in this initiative; it shows how powerfully we are aligned on our commitment to give back to the communities we serve.” About Apollo, she adds, “the success of this program would not be possible without the dedication of Apollo and his OSCE colleagues. They are valued members of our team.”
Denisha Rapier, Program Manager OSCE, is responsible for educating and connecting individuals touched by the criminal justice system to employment opportunities at JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports. “The mission of this initiative is important because it helps reduce the recidivism rate, which means most of our Second Chances candidates won’t be returning back to prison or jail.”
As part of CAO, the OSCE helps to prepare and connect candidates for the open airport and aviation positions. At first glance, one might think the security requirements for most airport jobs would make these unattainable for these candidates, but there are still many jobs that are landside and don’t require a SIDA (Secured Identification Display Area) badge, such as positions in customer service, construction, technicians, food service, and more.
“Our employer partners will only succeed if they have the best staff,” concludes Denisha. “Therefore, we work hard to ensure that all referrals to our employer partners have all the required hard and soft skills they need.”
Alstom continues its Second Chances partnership with the Council for Airport Opportunity and the Port Authority of New and New Jersey by supporting its $18 billion redevelopment program, providing safety Spotters from the OSCE. Their main role is to ensure that the structural integrity of the AirTrain structures is not compromised during the redevelopment construction. The Spotters’ work supports the AirTrain JFK Mission of ensuring the delivery of a safe and reliable rail transit service to all our airport customers and stakeholders, as well as the Port Authority’s standards of promoting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment.