Innovative Teaching & Transportation Industry Partnerships

Watch the live recording of this webinar here!


For a pdf of the full presentation, click on the image below

11-12 Webinar


On Thursday, November 12 from 3:15-4:30 pm ET the Northeast Center of the National Transportation Network and the National Association of State Directors for Career Technical Education co-sponsored a webinar entitled “Innovative Teaching and Industry Partnerships”. Attendees joined us for this webinar which features teachers, administrators and industry partners who will provided insights and examples of innovative programs and teaching models when delivering transportation related curricula for high school students. Speakers and topics included:

Andrea Zimmermann is the State Policy Associate at the National Association of State Directors for Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc). The NASDCTEc was established to represent the state and territory heads of secondary, postsecondary and adult Career Technical Education (CTE) across the nation. NASDCTEc aims to support an innovative CTE system that prepares individuals to succeed in education and their careers and poises the United States to flourish in a global, dynamic economy through leadership, advocacy and partnerships.

Kathy DePiro, with the Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center is the Logistics Materials Management program instructor. The three/four year, half day program enrolls students grades 9-12. While the program runs a live warehouse, the primary hands-on instruction is the operation of a fulfillment center for National Book Bank (First Book). Students receive instruction in movement, storage, control, and protection of materials. Students are also instructed on lift trucks, automated storage equipment and the UPS Worldship system. Students participate in a cooperative education experiences during the senior year.

Katie Niersbach, Senior Operations Manager, First Book National Book Bank manages First Book’s partnership with CTE programs. The partnership currently engage 15 sites and 630 students nationwide, moving over 3 million units of product for First Book annually. Katie earned a dual degree in Advertising and Marketing from Syracuse University. Upon graduation, she served a year as an Americorps*VISTA in New York City, building capacity for a nonprofit focused on youth and family volunteering opportunities. Her nonprofit event management brought her to First Book, where she managed large scale book distribution events (500,000+ books) for two years before turning her focus to expanding First Book’s CTE partnership. When not at work, she enjoys visiting the children’s sections of independent bookstores with a good cup of coffee in hand.

Jeanine Gallina is the Career Program Developer/Coordinator at the WEMOCO Career and Technical Center at Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES in Spencerport, New York. The school provides CTE programs for high school juniors and seniors in 19 different career areas. Students are at the center for half of their school day and at their district high school for the other half of the day. In this featured program the AASHTO TRACS kits are used in the 9th and 10th grade Career and Technical Education (CTE) Exploration program. The 9/10 program was designed to meet the needs of at-risk youth who would benefit from relevant application of academic curriculum. The NYDOT assists in arranging guest speakers and field trips and participates in preparing students for the AASHTO bridge building competition

Shirley C. McCall, is the Director of the TransSTEM Academy at Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus in Washington, DC. The TransSTEM was established in 1991 as the first transportation studies academy in the Washington metropolitan area. Its mission is to expose students to transportation, engineering and other STEM-related disciplines. Close to 750 students have graduated since its inception. Over 85% of its graduates go on to two and four year colleges. Currently, there are 125 students in grades 9-12 who are enrolled in TransSTEM. The program’s curricula is integrated with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Moreover, it offers career pathways in engineering, electro-mechanical technology training, and computer science.

Caronell Diew is a Program Manager with over 22 years of Federal Government service ranging from assignments with the Department of Defense, Joint currently the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Air Traffic Organization, Technical Operations, at the FAA Headquarters in Washington, DC. Diew is the sole Policy Program Manager and Office of Primary Responsibility on the National Air Space (NAS) Policy & Services Planning Team, for the Joint Acceptance Inspection (JAI) Order.  She is a strong advocate for developing women in STEM careers and is a co-founder of “mentorSTEM,” which has a primary goal of building a pipeline for careers in transportation.

Questions from the Webinar

Q:  Is there a cost for the TRAC program, and if so how do you address that in your budget?  

A:  Each of the TRACS modules has its own price; so depending on the module purchased, it will vary.  If you go to the AASHTO website, they have the break down of cost for each module.  Because we were a pilot program in the state, some of the cost was subsidized by DOT and the rest was taken out of the program budget.

Q: Do Graduates from the TRAC program have opportunities to work with your partner NYDOT later through Internships, job shadows, etc? Are there any career track linkages to future jobs/careers at DOT?

Career Awareness is the purpose of the TRACS program.  Our students do get the opportunity to do field trips to DOT and have guest speakers.  Some of the students do get to shadow NYSDOT; but that is limited due to the age of our students.  The TRACS program is used with our 9th and 10th graders.  DOT does communicate with us when they have job postings and/or civil service tests that our 12th graders may be qualified for.

Q: At Cardozo, do your many partners, besides hosting some internships and providing some direct program support also have programs that open job and career opportunities in their organizations?  Can you speak to some of the outcomes – where are students several years out, what kind of college programs, jobs, etc?

Typically, 85% of TransSTEM graduates go directly to college, 5% to the military and 10% to work.  We are particularly proud of the number of graduates who are currently at USDOT at the FTA, FHWA, and FAA Administrations including headquarters and regional offices (New Jersey, Baltimore, and Baton Rouge).  We also have students at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Amtrak, American Public Transportation Association, Verizon, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, U.S. Navy Yard, US Navy, US Marines, TRB, District Department of Transportation, Covidien, IRS, etc. Our greatest number of graduates are within USDOT in which we have had approximately 30 alumni who currently work there or have worked there during college or since graduating from college. Another 50 students can be tracked to other agencies and companies. While we are excited when our graduates are able to move into careers in the transportation industry, our goal is to provide them the necessary skills and competencies to remain in school, graduate and go on to college or some other post-secondary institution.

It would be an ideal situation if we had the financial resources to effectively track our students.  Alumni tracking is a very expensive undertaking.  In recent years, we have taken advantage of social media (Facebook in conjunction with Survey Monkey) to reach our graduates.  We also sponsor a yearly All-Class Reunion event in December at which time we have our graduates complete surveys.  Regrettably, we may get 10-15% of the students attending.  Recently, our school system has adopted the use of a Naviance.  Naviance is a comprehensive college and career readiness solution for middle and high schools that helps align student strengths and interests to post-secondary goals, and improve student outcomes.  Beginning this fall, StudentTracker will be available through Naviance, and for a fee provide information about college attendance.


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