Review and Business Case Analysis of Transportation-STEM Programs with State DOT Involvement

In the decade from 2012 to 2022, 40 to 50 percent of the transportation workforce is expected to retire taking valuable knowledge with them. State Departments of Transportation (DOT) are expected to play a significant role in efforts to replenish the workforce pipeline by raising awareness about transportation careers, providing internship and apprenticeship opportunities, supporting workforce development programs and research, implementing mentoring programs for new workers and emerging leaders, and supporting partnerships with education and workforce organizations. This paper reviews state DOT involvement in transportation-related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach programs and identifies opportunities to engage kindergarten through high school (K-12) students in STEM programs and enhance their interest in the transportation field. Information on DOT involvement in STEM programs was gathered from the literature, DOT and other websites; a targeted online survey administered to DOTs and University Transportation Centers that have hosted STEM outreach programs; and semi-structured phone interviews conducted with selected survey respondents to gather additional information on their programs. Results showed that over 40% of state DOTs are involved in K-15 STEM outreach programs: most commonly residential or non-residential summer programs; teacher training and curriculum development programs; internship and shadowing opportunities; one-day awareness events; and periodic employee visits to schools to present on transportation STEM. A business case analysis, together with STEM theory and existing empirical evidence, showed that agencies will benefit from including both longer-term and shorter-term alternatives in their STEM programming to cultivate STEM efficacy and build long-term relationships with a smaller percentage of students while increasing STEM awareness broadly among K-12 students. Such strategic programming will contribute to the development of a pool of students for future recruitment to replenish the transportation workforce.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee ABG20 Standing Committee on Transportation Education and Training.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Amekudzi-Kennedy, Adjo
    • Akofio-Sowah, Margaret-Avis
    • Brodie, Stefanie
    • Xu, Yanzhi (Ann)
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2016


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 18p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 95th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01589899
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 16-4664
  • Files: PRP, TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2016 10:32AM