STEM and Our Future Transportation Leaders

Between 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 replenishing 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.  Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) development is considered a critical priority in the state of Georgia and the nation at large to preserve science and technology efficacy and promote economic competitiveness. This report reviews state DOT involvement in transportation related STEM outreach programs and identifies opportunities to engage kindergarten through high school (K 12) students in STEM programs to enhance their interest in the transportation field.  Both theory and empirical evidence show that STEM has academic and behavioral benefits, and that students exposed to STEM are more likely to choose a career in STEM.  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 show that over 40 percent of state DOTs are involved in K 12 STEM outreach programs: most commonly residential or non residential summer programs, teacher training and curriculum development programs, internship and shadow opportunities, one day STEM awareness events, and periodic employee visits to schools to present on transportation STEM.  A business case analysis conducted shows 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 developing a pool of students for future recruitment to replenish the transportation workforce, while enhancing STEM culture within the agency.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Georgia Tech Research Corporation

    505 10th Street
    Atlanta, GA  United States  30332-0415

    Georgia Department of Transportation

    Office of Research, 15 Kennedy Drive
    Forest Park, GA  United States  30297-2534

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Kennedy, Adjo Amekudzi
    • Sowah, Margaret Avis Akofio
    • Brodie, Stefanie
    • Xu, Yanzhi (Ann)
    • Leous, Audrey
    • Curtis, Valerie
  • Publication Date: 2016-2-10


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 127p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01599886
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA-GA-14-08
  • Created Date: May 19 2016 2:38PM