Transportation Today

Newspaper for Students Transforms Image of Careers in Transportation

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. Read more

Grailing Jones

Industry Leader Grailing Jones Helps Raise Awareness of Transportation Career Possibilities

Instead of sitting at his desk and emailing potential collaborators, Grailing Jones, Schneider Employment Network Development Director, has traveled around the country to personally meet with interested parties who have aims similar to his. Through these interpersonal interactions, he has reached a diverse array of groups that are involved in recruiting a new wave of workers for the transportation industry.

Jones has been doing all of this in an attempt to address hurdles to gaining new employees in the transportation industry. According to Jones, the biggest problem facing the transportation industry today is the lack of awareness about the positives for those pursuing a career in the field.

“The greatest barrier, to me, is the awareness of possibilities in the industry, and it’s shocking, but people don’t know about the pay rates in the industry either,” Jones said. Read more

Taking Recruitment on the Road with the High Wage Highway Program

In an effort to directly reach people who may have never considered a career in trucking, the High Wage Highway program bring new trucks to county fairs, car shows, and car races. The program, put together by non-profit, Northwest Wisconsin CEP, invites men, women and children to climb into trucks to break down the incorrect stereotypes that are commonly associated with careers in the transportation field, according to Northwest Wisconsin CEP, employer resource consultant, Tasha Hagberg.

“The biggest difference with High Wage Highway is that it allows people to envision themselves in the role of a truck driver by climbing inside of the cabs of the new trucks, and getting to see really how beautiful they are and how livable they are,” Hagberg said. Read more

Family-Owned Business Adjusts Hiring Process to Meet Needs of Changing Workforce

Ozinga, a fourth-generation, family-owned business that provides concrete, materials, energy and logistics solutions, reinvented their hiring process from the ground up starting in 2014 in order to best serve a rapidly changing workforce.

The company, founded in 1928, launched their Born to Build campaign in the spring of 2015, which quickly spread through social media. The original post of the video has already received roughly 3,600 likes, 280 comments, 1,700 shares and nearly 260,000 views. Those numbers continue to grow. Read more

Teachers Learn How to Introduce the Field of Engineering to Students

Iowa State University’s Institute for Transportation partnered with the Iowa Department of Transportation in the summer of 2015 to lead three programs that introduced elementary and high school teachers as well as high school students to the field of engineering.

Jennifer Serra is a program assistant at the Institute for Transportation where she helped design the programs. Serra said the program helped teachers so they could actively engage their students in the STEM fields.

Twenty-four teachers participated in “Teaching in the Fast Lane Workshop for Elementary Teachers,” that featured STEM investigations into the best method for elementary school teachers to educate young students about science, math, and engineering concepts.

Leading faculty and graduate students made presentations about engineering in the workshop, hosted at ISU. One presenter was Lynne Bleeker, a consultant for Full Option Science System, a program that aims to make learning environments more active. She helped elementary school teachers design a curriculum that met national science and math standards. Read more

Bridge-Building Competition Engages Students With Active Learning Approach

Science Center of Iowa’s premier “Ready, Set, Build! Bridge-Building Challenge,” event inspired students to consider careers in engineering and transportation and launched a lasting partnership for key transportation agencies in the state.

Seventy-six students and family members from all around Iowa traveled to Des Moines, Iowa to attend the November, 2015 event designed to introduce y­oung students to engineering through an approach based on hands-on learning. Event participants formed 24 teams, and each team had three hours to construct a bridge using a selection of balsa wood, wood clothespins, popsicle sticks, hot glue, and string. The bridges were then tested and judged. Read more

Elementary schools host Family Science and Engineering Nights

Family Science & Engineering Nights are a Vehicle for Transportation Education

Article contributed by Joan Chadde, Michigan Technological University

Barkell Elementary School in Hancock and Chassell Elementary in Chassell, both small towns in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, hosted Family Science and Engineering Nights recently, on Feb. 16 and March 15 respectively, for elementary-aged students and their parents or guardians. The event provided attendees with a hands-on learning experience focused on engineering and science, which also included a lesson on transportation.

Family Science and Engineering Nights are coordinated by Joan Chadde, director of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach at Michigan Technological University, and a CFIRE partner since 2011.

Read more

Mentoring Young People in Michigan: DeAnte Thompkins Shares His Experiences

DeAnte Thompkins has hired and mentored more than 600 high school students as director of MDOT’s Metro Region Youth Development and Mentoring Program (YDMP), a program he was once in himself. MDOT’s twelve-week program provides summer job training as a foundation for entering transportation-related careers. We recently asked him some questions about his experience with mentorship programs.

What’s a typical work week for the students in the program?

Participants in the program work a standard forty-hour work week. The week is generally broken down into three days of work in the field and two days of mentoring activities. Over the last several years, we have partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources so that the students could help in the beautification efforts of Belle Isle State Park. This provides a very safe work environment for students while still making an impact on a gem of Metro Detroit.

What are some actual student paths after finishing the program?

We have a number of success stories that have come as a result of being exposed to our Youth Development and Mentoring program.  After being exposed to the opportunities in transportation, we have kids go on to major in civil engineering. We have a gentleman that has been with YDMP since roughly 2009 who decided to become an aircraft mechanic because of what he saw during our mentoring event at MDOT’s Aeronautics garage in Lansing. We have other students that went on to get skilled trades certifications because of exposure to that career path. Read more