Why We’re Here

Transportation YOU is a hands-on, interactive program that offers young girls ages 13-18 an introduction to a wide variety of transportation careers. Through the program, WTS chapters have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young girls by offering programs and activities that will spark their interest in all modes of transportation and encourage them to take courses in math, science, and technology, which are the stepping stones to exciting careers that can change the face of the transportation industry.

Transportation YOU is the joint initiative of WTS International and the U.S. DOT that launched with the 2010 signing of a memorandum of understanding by US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.  The White House Council on Women and Girls Executive Director and Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama, Tina Tchen, attended our launch event in May and has been an ardent supporter of our STEM initiative. For the full transcript of Secretary LaHood’s presentation in May 2011, click HERE.

In his January 2011 State of the Union Address, President Obama expressed his concern that a U.S. education is lacking in STEM subjects: “Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future—if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas—then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.”

We’ve answered the President’s call for improved STEM opportunities for U.S. students. During the first two years of our Transportation YOU initiative, WTS International has focused on developing three major projects among its 48 regional chapters and nearly 5,000 members:

Mentorship

When addressing the National Partnership for Women and Families, Michelle Obama stressed the need for mentorship programs: “If we truly want to keep moving forward, our focus must not only be on the next set of issues, but on the next set of leaders, as well. And it’s our responsibility to engage and inspire that next generation. It’s our responsibility to reach back and keep pulling up those promising young leaders.”

Mentoring is at the heart of the Transportation YOU initiative. Because we feel that one-on-one relationships will make the biggest impact on these girls’ lives, mentor/mentee relationships motivate and inspire many of our other initiatives. WTS International members have the resources and experience to guide young girls towards success. Regional chapters coordinate their local Transportation YOU mentorship initiatives, but WTS International assists the chapters by providing toolkits, navigating liability issues, and building partnerships with national youth organizations. Click HERE for more information on our mentoring programs.

 DC Youth Summit

The DC Youth Summit is a Transportation YOU program in which selected girls and their mentors meet DC hotshots and are exposed to transportation systems within the Beltway. Participating girls meet college representatives, congressmen, and senior DOT administration officials. They also experience behind-the-scenes tours of the White House, the US Department of Transportation, Reagan airport, the DC Metro, Union Station, and more. Click HERE for more information on the DC Youth Summit.

Challenges

Chapters’ Transportation YOU programs run engineering challenges for girls to get them excited about transportation careers. Engineering challenges and field experiences help girls relate what they’re learning in the classroom to the real world.  Experience has shown that children learn best when they relate to the subject being taught.  These activities spark interest in science and math, but they also encourage girls to pursue STEM extracurricular activities.

Engineering challenges are often inspired by mentor/mentee relationships or involve partnerships with nearby schools and youth organizations. WTS International provides toolkits for challenge ideas. WTS also hosts several challenges for girls who attend the DC Summit.

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