Since it was launched, Transportation Today WI has transformed career and technical education (CTE) programs across Wisconsin into desired destinations, not just a place where some students end up, according to publisher, Renée Feight. This change is, in part, because the newspaper written for students brings awareness of great career prospects in transportation to the classroom. Feight and Larry Werner, publishers of the Transportation Today WI newspaper are excited about all things transportation. The publication was added as a special publication of its parent publication, Teaching Today WI, in 2010.
The Midwest Transportation Workforce Center (MTWC) is so interested in Transportation Today WI and its work promoting transportation as a future career among the young that it has made it an initiative in its strategic plan. “The idea is very scalable and we’d like to see it expand to other states in our region,” said Maria Hart, program manager for MTWC. “Transportation Today really is a best practice in our field,” she added.
Transportation Today WI reaches more than 75,000 readers in schools across Wisconsin from middle schools to technical colleges. Published quarterly, its content is written by educators, trade associations, manufacturers, and professionals in the field. In addition to print, the newspaper has an on-line presence in its website (www.transportationtodaywi.com) including an interactive flipbook of current and past issues.
Feight stressed the great opportunity to educate students, educators, and parents about the diverse opportunities in transportation as a career. “Roads will always need to be built or reconstructed, airports and planes maintained and operated safely and efficiently,” she said. “Transportation is hiding in plain sight. It’s so much in the fabric of our lives that we sometimes don’t even notice how important it is for our world to function.”
Feight said that Transportation Today WI helps add to the pipeline for the transportation workforce by starting early with middle and high school students. “Many of [the students] know nothing about the wide variety of employment options in transportation and their parents often don’t know much more,” she said. “Transportation Today fills this awareness gap with real experiences and facts culled from schools and programs and the work world.”
Feight said she likes to get a good mix of transportation articles in Transportation Today WI by including maritime, roadway, and aviation to underscore the broad spectrum of opportunities available.
Feight feels that the publication helps in the classroom, too. When a program and its students are featured in an article, teachers have told Feight that students’ self-esteem improves. Articles in Transportation Today WI also help attract a broader range of students who can see technical education as a pathway to an interesting, well-paying career. Transportation’s emphasis on essential skills in math, communications, and team work are all core skills from which any student can benefit.
Transportation Today WI gives educators and their programs a place to share their successes with a broad audience of educators, employers, and grant makers. Exposure in the newspaper helps programs connect with grant-making organizations to support new and innovative transportation-related educational programs, creating win-win situations for both.
Currently, seven states are exploring creating Teaching Today editions for their own states which may include Transportation Today as a dedicated section like in Wisconsin. Feight cites the newspaper’s ability to serve as conduit between educators, students, associations, and working professionals as one of its main benefits. Also, because Transportation Today WI is supported by its advertisers and sponsors, it is provided free to its readers, an important point for cash-strapped schools.
You are invited to check out digital current and past issues at the Transportation Today WI website (www.transportationtodaywi.com). Please feel free to email Feight at firstname.lastname@example.org for hard copies of the 2016 Spring/Summer issue.
To learn more or to connect with the creators of Transportation Today WI, contact Renée Feight at email@example.com or Larry Werner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|This story is from our regular series of articles highlighting efforts being made here in the Midwest to address transportation workforce issues.
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