As urban and rural areas continue to see traffic growth, the need for more transportation engineers is also growing. The profession is losing over half of the state agency transportation engineers and many more local agency professionals as baby boomers retire. In response to this shortage, the UFTI along with its USDOT Regional grant-funded University Transportation Center (UTC), have teamed up to work harder at recruiting more students to the field, by creating K-12 programs to introduce the younger generation to engineering.
K-12 Workforce Development Programs:
- Engineering Fair (E-Fair)
- Family Engineering Night
- LEGO® Robot Vehicle Lesson Plans for Secondary Education. Workforce Development Coordinator, Leslie Washburn, P.E., has developed and piloted lesson plans for middle school-aged students utilizing LEGO®Mindstorms NXT robots to foster interest in the transportation engineering profession as a career choice. During these lessons, students learn the fundamentals of transportationengineering and how the use of advanced technology integral to solving current and future transportation problems. They also learn how much transportation affects the quality of life in our society.
- Transportation Career Day
- Transportation You. In May 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a National Education Initiative for Girls and Young Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), named Transportation YOU. The WTS Student Chapter responded to the WTS/USDOT Girl’s STEM Initiative and developed an Outreach Action Plan. As part of the action plan, the WTS Student Chapter has set up a Facebook page, invited high school girls to the Transportation Symposium, volunteered as middle school science fair judges, developed activities for the university Engineering Fair, and partnered with the student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers to produce a new outreach program called Family Engineering Night.
For more information, contact Ines Aviles-Spadoni, UFTI/UTC Research Program Coordinator.