Reenergizing the industry
Reenergizing the industry
WTS Transportation YOU Summit attracts more young women to industry
In Late June, in the midst of marriage equality and affordable healthcare wins for the U.S., senior U.S. Department of Transportation administrators, agencies such as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), and high-profile leaders from transportation’s private sector, took the time to meet with select high-school girls who have shown an interest in learning more about career opportunities in the industry.
Transportation YOU, a program of WTS International—the association for the advancement of women in transportation—capped off its year-long programs occurring around the U.S. at its flagship DC Youth Summit created for the young women and their mentors, women who themselves are rising leaders in the industry.
“The success of the future of the transportation industry lies in its most important asset—its workforce—and its future leaders must be gender diverse to be successful,” said Marcia Ferranto, WTS International’s president and CEO. “WTS International created Transportation YOU and this flagship DC Summit program to show young girls that developing their STEM talents can lead to a challenging and highly rewarding career in transportation.”
Transportation YOU is a hands-on, interactive, mentoring program that offers young girls ages 13-18 an introduction to a wide variety of transportation careers. Through the program, WTS chapters work to make a difference in the lives of young girls by offering programs and activities that will spark their interest in all modes of transportation and encourage them to take courses in science, technology, engineering and math, which are the stepping stones to exciting careers that can change the face of the transportation industry.
The Transportation YOU DC Youth Summit spanned five days and included a visit to USDOT to meet with some of the young women from various modes who have chosen transportation as a career, and a meeting with Victor Mendez, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition to visits to WMATA and NTSB to learn about data technologies and career paths in transportation investigations, the Summit attendees embarked on an academic challenge project coordinated by a special team from Rutgers and Carnegie Mellon about transportation technology. The project was woven throughout the robust Summit agenda.
“The DC Summit program relies heavily on the steering committee that creates the participant experience,” Ferranto says. “WTS International recognizes these committee members and their organizations for the incredible time, dedication, and resources they provide, including 2015 Committee Chair Helen McSwain from Atkins, Laurie Cullen, also from Atkins, and Diana Giraldo from HNTB.”
Also on the committee were Avital Barnea and Kristine Boswell of USDOT, Felicia Boyd of FAA, and Casey Manders, a graduating senior from Atlanta, GA.
The full agenda for the Transportation YOU DC Summit can be found at this link: http://www.transportationyou.org/dc-summit/2015-summit-diary/.
The Transportation YOU initiative that takes place at the local level across WTS International’s 60 chapters was spearheaded by USDOT in partnership with WTS in 2010 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding. The program is a source of scholarship, internship and networking opportunities. It links young women with professionals in the field and inspires them to pursue STEM-related coursework and exposes them to career possibilities in the transportation industry not typically pursued by women.
The DOT has been unwaveringly determined to support President Obama’s call to action to get more students, particularly young women, on track to take the helm of the country’s infrastructure needs and in support of the “Ladders of Opportunity” initiative to provide a robust economy, thriving communities, and success of individuals. WTS was a natural fit for getting the program off the ground.
WTS International and WTS Foundation, Washington, D.C., seek to attract, retain, and advance women in transportation. As the industry’s premier multi-modal association, WTS boasts a network of more than 6,000 transportation professionals—women and men from across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Every transportation mode is represented, as is every service within the industry. From federal leaders to engineers and planners, the WTS membership base represents nearly 1,500 companies and 400 agencies in more than 90 cities. WTS Foundation has provided more than $1 million in scholarships to deserving women throughout the transportation industry, supporting the next generation of transportation professionals and advancing the principles of WTS. More information can be found at www.WTSinternational.org.