, Associate Director, Center for Transportation Studies
How can America build a skilled workforce for the 21st century transportation industry? Our answer: attract and educate the brightest young minds from diverse segments of society. This approach is described in our proposal for a National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) at the University of Minnesota.
The opportunity for successful careers in transportation is clear. The science and engineering (S&E) workforce has shown sustained growth for more than a half century. And the pool of people to fill these jobs is becoming more diverse. Census data predict that by 2050 there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the country; in Minnesota, the portion of the population that is non-white or Latino is projected to reach 25 percent by 2035. One way to accomplish this is to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to pursue a degree in science, technology, engineering, and/or math (STEM) fields, and then spark their imaginations about the opportunities to use those degrees in the transportation industry. That is exactly what we hope our camp will provide through exposure to a wide array of transportation career paths and activities, along with an introduction to the college experience.
Building on the success of our 2017 and 2018 programs, we are proposing a threefold purpose to this yeara??s camp: to create awareness and stimulate interest in career opportunities in the transportation industry; enhance studentsa?? STEM skills; and attract and acquaint a diverse selection of students to the various modes of the transportation industry.
Our Institute will be open to students in the Twin Cities metropolitan area who completed grades 6-8 in the spring of 2019. The core of the program is a two-week, non-residential summer camp focusing on STEM curriculum. Held on the University of Minnesota campus, the summer camp will provide access to university infrastructure and faculty that may not be available in other programs. In addition, students will be exposed to disciplines and careers in many modes of transportation through field trips to businesses and governmental agencies and activity-based presentations by professionals.