Workforce Development

MCTM partners offer transportation-related workshops for all age groups, focusing on the youngest and underserved.

K-12 Workforce Development Initiatives

Garrett Morgan Sustainable Transportation Competition (Middle School)

For the past 16 years, MTI has proudly hosted the National Garrett Morgan Sustainable Transportation Competition to inspire middle school students to pursue math, science, and careers in transportation. Engineers and planners from sponsors AASHTO, APTA, and Caltrans mentor middle school classroom teams in developing sustainable transportation projects. Final presentations are video streamed live to sites across the U.S., and the U.S. Secretary of Transportation addresses the student teams from the US DOT media center. The most recent competition was held on April 25 and began with a welcome from Secretary Chao. Over 1,200 students have participated to date.

Summer Transportation Institute

High school students participate in MTI’s Summer Transportation Institute (STI), a three-week summer program that helps to prepare students for technical degrees and careers in transit. Through STI, 40-50 students per year earn three college credits emphasizing transportation policy. They learn in the classroom and through field trips to transit centers, bridges and highway infrastructure, and other operational sites. Some recent site visits have included Bay Area Rapid Transit, the Oakland Bay Bridge, Caltrain, the San Jose ITS Traffic Operations Center, an electric automobile factory, the Mineta San Jose Airport, and others.

Howard University also provides an STI program co-sponsored by the District DOT, Maryland State Highway, and Howard University. The goal is to help develop a diverse transportation workforce by exposing middle and high school students to transportation careers. STI recruits 15-25 bright students and exposes them to exciting activities and field trips that help them understand civil engineering as it relates to transportation careers.

Journey to the Past: Tracks to the Future (Grades 1-3)

MTI will partner with the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation, History San José, and San José Unified School District (over 72 percent non-White), taking 120 students from grades 1-3 back in time to learn about transportation in Silicon Valley from a costumed storyteller, followed by a vintage trolley car ride through the park. The Tracks to the Future portion of the program will discuss transportation innovation, with remarks by a representative from California High Speed Rail and “the Father of Transit in Silicon Valley,” Rod Diridon, in whose honor the City of San José renamed its busiest train station.

Exploring the World of Transportation and its Impact on our Community (Grades K-5)

MTI will partner with Reed Elementary School of the San José Unified School District to for 30 third graders and a schoolwide create an eight-week program college/career day presentation for 497 K-5 students. Each year, these students from diverse backgrounds spend eight weeks studying urban and rural communities. Over the eight weeks, MTI proposes to provide a once-weekly, in-person age-appropriate presentation by transportation professionals. Presenters from a wide range of professions will help students understand the vast array of transportation careers available.

Bringing Transit Operations and Maintenance Careers to School (High School)

This pilot program will address the critical shortage of qualified operations and maintenance workers by providing economically disadvantaged and ethnically diverse high school students (grades 11 and 12) with a technical education integrating academic content with industry skills. Teachers from San José’s East Side Union High School District will work with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) to create courses tailored to the agency’s needs. VTA will select interns from a group recommended by the instructor. Successful internship completion qualifies students for entry-level positions.

Students will:

  • Receive instruction focused on the specific needs of transit agencies;
  • Visit transit work sites to learn from operations and maintenance workers; and
  • Compete to qualify for internships and possible full-time positions.

Students will receive dual credit with a community college or post-secondary organization, providing an incentive to pursue advanced training after graduation. Grant funds will be used to develop and deliver the curriculum, finance field trips, and fund internships. The pilot program will be limited to 30 students.

Sustaining Interest in Transportation and Documenting Success

Through K-12 guidance and career counselors, Consortium partners will maintain active outreach to secondary schools, conducting annual education recruitment fairs and ongoing recruitment to secondary and junior college students. Following each WFD event, age-appropriate, post-event evaluations will be collected from each participant. Results will be used to fine-tune program content. Implementation and participation will be documented with photos and narrative in Consortium newsletters, social media posts, federal reporting documents, and the MNTRC website.