Chicago’s Transportation YOU Takes Off at O’Hare

Transportation YOU participants watch planes land from the taxiway near runway 10C (pictured: Michele Clark students, teacher and WTS volunteers Janice Reid, Janice Pang, Mae Whiteside and Lillian Yan)     Transportation YOU participants watch planes land from the taxiway near runway 10C.

Transportation YOU participants watch planes land from the taxiway near runway 10C.

Forty students from Michele Clark Magnet High School in Chicago headed out in October to tour O’Hare International Airport as part of  WTS Greater Chicago Chapter’s Transportation YOU Program. Before the tour, WTS volunteers—experts in the field—met with the students to educate them on the airport environment. The students then toured O’Hare and learned about transportation careers from employees working on various airport and airline projects at both the O’Hare and Midway airports. WTS supporter Mae Whiteside presented some of the challenges of airport design and construction. Then, participants worked on a project that demonstrated the complex planning and operations involved in airports and civil engineering.  After the tour, WTS volunteers visited the students to answer questions about airports and help them finalize their group design projects.

These Transportation YOU participants also had the opportunity to watch cargo and passenger planes land on O’Hare’s new runway and stood under the approach path to see planes fly overhead. Some students saw huge machinery used to clear the runway, and others witnessed O’Hare’s fire department responding to an emergency test fire, extinguishing it within three minutes.

Small group career talks were held with volunteers rotating among the student groups. The students were impressed by how many people it takes to manage such a complicated environment. They enjoyed learning about the different roles and one student even asked about applying for a job!

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