DOT’s LaHood Will Be Missed by Women in Transportation

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Among the many that will miss U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, Raymond LaHood, who announced yesterday that he is stepping down from his post, are the women of the transportation sector, said WTS International.

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood addresses Transportation YOU participants.

Workforce development is critical for this country and the world’s future, and bringing young women and other critical populations into the industry is where Secretary LaHood’s passion comes through.

The United States learned yesterday that U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, Raymond LaHood, is stepping down from his post. Among the many that will miss him and his priorities for the industry are the women of the transportation sector.

“Secretary LaHood epitomizes what WTS set out to accomplish when it was founded 35 years ago. While he’s been leading the charge to keep America’s transportation structure operating, he’s also been working and partnering with organizations like ours with an eye on the future. Workforce development is critical for this country and the world’s future, and bringing young women and other critical populations into the industry is where Secretary LaHood’s passion comes through,” said WTS International’s President and CEO, Marcia Ferranto.

Among the many efforts and achievements Ferranto refers to is the Transportation YOU program that began as a joint effort of WTS and the DOT at the signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2010 to create programs that encourage 13 – 17 year old girls to set out on an academic path that leads to a career in transportation.

“When Secretary LaHood sets out on a mission to effect change, he means it,” added Ferranto. In fact, LaHood has made appearances for WTS events and spoken with their younger constituency on many occasions, even inviting Transportation YOU participants from across the country to the DOT offices in Washington, DC.

LaHood’s efforts on the workforce development front are not limited to WTS programs. He is known for many partnerships with organizations that support his mission to grow the US’s infrastructure through education, opportunity, and awareness, including a partnership with the US Department of Labor to create job portals for college students and veterans.

LaHood said in an interview with The Associated Press that he previously told Obama that he needed to move on but was still conflicted by his decision because he liked working for Obama and considered it the "best job I've ever had in public service." The Secretary led the DOT during Obama's first term and worked to curb distracted driving, promote high-speed rail and repair roads and bridges, among many other successful efforts.

Obama thanked LaHood in a statement, saying they were "drawn together by a shared belief that those of us in public service owe an allegiance not to party or faction, but to the people we were elected to represent. And Ray has never wavered in that belief."

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WTS International, headquartered in Washington, DC, seeks to attract, retain, and advance women in transportation. As the industry's premier multi-modal association, WTS boasts a network of approximately 6,000 transportation professionals—women and men from across the United States, Canada, and Great Britain--and it's growing globally. Every transportation mode is represented, as is every service within the industry. From federal leaders to engineers and planners, the WTS membership base represents nearly 1,500 companies and 400 agencies in more than 90 cities.    

WTS Foundation has provided more than $1,000,000 in scholarships to deserving women throughout the transportation industry, supporting the next generation of transportation professionals and advancing the principles of WTS. WTS is committed to advancing women in transportation through expanding existing scholarship opportunities to women pursuing transportation related degrees, providing and promoting more educational opportunities and career development to advance women in transportation, and initiating, sponsoring and publishing research related to advancing women in transportation. More information can be found at http://www.WTSInternational.org

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Mary Petto
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