The highlight of the DOT visit for the Transportation YOU Summit attendees was the moment Secretary LaHood walked into the room to speak to them, minutes before heading out to give his public farewell address as he steps down from his post. LaHood spoke about opportunities in transportation for young people who have STEM backgrounds, especially women. He noted that DOT is “practically run by women,” as evidenced by his senior team that was represented in the room. Secretary LaHood recommended that the students channel their energy and drive through education, internships, and, most importantly, talking to people and networking, so that they can achieve their ultimate success.
As an example of the impact that a role at DOT can have, Secretary LaHood spoke about the Department’s emphasis on safety and how they’ve achieved getting laws passed to allow federal oversight of safety issues that were previously handled individually by each state.
“The Secretary’s choice to stop in and welcome these young women before addressing the nation was certainly poignant,” said Ferranto. “While he’s been leading the charge to keep America’s transportation structure operating, he’s also been working and partnering with organizations like WTS with an eye on the future. Workforce development is critical for this country and the future of the world, and bringing young women and other critical populations into the industry is where the Honorable Secretary LaHood’s passion comes through.”