To kick off National Transportation Week yesterday, Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari joined a White House "Champions of Change" conversation about the pressing need to develop tomorrow's transportation professionals.
Transportation is a great place to start when creating jobs. Across all modes of transportation—from roads, bridges, and buses to airports, trains, and maritime—America will always need workers to maintain our transportation networks and build new ways to connect goods and people.
But it’s not enough to just create new jobs. With 50 percent of the current transportation workforce eligible for retirement in 2013, and significant technological changes affecting all modes of transportation, we must educate the next generation of workers.
As President Obama said in his National Transportation Week proclamation, "America has long depended on a robust and reliable transportation network to support our drive towards lasting security and prosperity."
The increasing demand for transportation options isn’t going away; we need to ensure that a ready corps of transportation professionals is available to meet that demand and has the tools to grow with changing technologies. That's why experts as diverse as Kathy Caldwell, President of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and Ralph Graeser, a veteran pipeline inspector joined yesterday's discussion to jump-start this important conversation.
Recruiting and developing talented young men and women to work in transportation--that’s what will equip us to out-build and out-innovate the rest of the world. And that is how America wins the future.