Every summer, when high school and college students are taking a break from classes, the ranks of companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies swell with summer interns.
Here at DOT we welcome these eager young men and women, and we put them to work. With so many transportation professionals throughout the industry eligible for retirement, these fresh faces--and the skills and preparation they represent--will have a very important role to play in America's transportation future. And when that time comes, we want to make sure they are ready and willing to step up to the plate.
In addition to transportation, the more than 400 DOT interns also have the opportunity to explore the field of public service. And you don't have to live in Washington, DC, to understand how important it is that our nation has bright and talented young men and women who are enthusiastic about helping government work for the American people.
At a recent town hall event, we had the opportunity to gather DOT's interns together in one room--and via teleconference--to thank them for their service, hear about their experiences, and encourage them to continue in the fields of transportation and public service.
As Deputy Secretary John Porcari said: "You've seen what we do, what our colleagues across federal, state, and local government do, and you've seen the great pride we take in delivering services to the American people every day. It's a position of trust, and it's one that we are honored to serve in. And I hope you've shared in that and will remember that feeling when you choose your careers."
We're also excited by the team we've been able to put together here at DOT, a group of people who share the Administration's vision and have been able to really get things done for transportation in the last three and a half years.
In the end, my message to our interns--and to all of the thousands of summer interns in government and transportation across America--is simply that I hope you've had a taste of what effective public service and effective transportation leadership looks like. And I hope that this opportunity will ignite a flame--or fan the flame you might already have inside you--for these fields.
And who knows? Perhaps one day many years from now, one of those more than 400 young men and women I spoke to could be standing in front of another talented group of interns as U.S. Secretary of Transportation. After the spirited work we've seen from them this summer, it wouldn't surprise me a bit.