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Mentorship, Careers, and Empowerment: Ladders of Opportunity

Last Monday, I spoke to a large group – many of them high school and college students of color – gathered at DOT Headquarters for a day of “Mentorship, Careers, and Empowerment: Ladders of Opportunity for Young Men of Color.” The event was held by our Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (we call it OSDBU, for short), and the students were here to be matched with mentors and to learn about new careers or--perhaps--even land an internship.

Photo of D.O.T.'s James Cole mentoring students

Greg Winfree sworn in as Administrator of RITA

Congratulations are in order this week to Greg Winfree, who was sworn in on Monday as the new Administrator of our Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA).

Though prior to Monday, the sign on his door read "Deputy Administrator," Administrator Winfree was very much prepared on his first day. After all, he had already been at RITA's helm in an "Acting" capacity since October 2011.

President Obama nominated him for Administrator in July of this year, and he was confirmed by the Senate earlier this month.

Photo of Secretary Foxx swearing-in Administrator Winfree as his wife holds a Bible
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx administers the oath of office to new RITA Administrator Greg Winfree while his wife, Frances, looks on.

Today’s youth are the future of transportation

While in Atlanta for the National Conference of State Legislators earlier this week, I had the opportunity to sit down with a talented group of young people to discuss opportunities for careers in transportation. With approximately 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, it's important the next generation is aware and excited about the career possibilities in the transportation industry.

With the need for transportation services always growing, it’s a particularly great time to consider a career in the industry. Fifty percent of the current transportation workforce will be eligible to retire by 2013 – that is double the rate of the overall U.S. workforce.  This means there will be a high demand for transportation operators, from truck drivers and pilots to inspectors and rail workers.

Students learn about transit, and then some

American Public Transportation Association holds National Youth Summit

I spent part of this afternoon talking to a group of young people about the many benefits of public transportation. For tens of millions of Americans who can't--or choose not to--drive, transit is a lifeline to jobs, schools, groceries, medical services, and other essential destinations. When we talk about the transportation choices Americans have said they want, transit is a key part of the mix.

But, because not everyone knows about the value of transit, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) holds an annual Youth Summit to Advance Public Transportation. Each summer, APTA brings about 50 talented high school students to Washington, DC to learn about:

  • The environmental benefits of public transportation;
  • How communities can prosper through increased transit services;
  • The role of local and federal policies in public transit usage; and
  • Career opportunities in the transit industry.

Photo of Secretary LaHood listening to questions from APTA Youth Summit attendees

DOT Seeks Student Proposals for Innovations in Aviation and Aerospace

As part of a comprehensive effort by the Obama administration to involve more of the country’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math studies, known as STEM, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today requested proposals for its "Recognizing Aviation and Aerospace Innovation in Science and Engineering" Award from college and high school students for unique innovations in aviation and aerospace.

Maritime Administration Promotes Opportunities in Maritime Industry, Importance of STEM Education for Baltimore-Area Students Touring Modern Cargo Ship

Maritime Administrator David Matsuda hosted approximately 125 area high school students onboard the Baltimore-based federal merchant ship, the Cape Washington, to highlight maritime career opportunities and the importance of a strong Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) education in the field today.

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