USDOT Region V Regional University Transportation Center

Education Program Overview

As population, congestion, and freight transportation continue to increase, our nation will require more and more qualified workers to meet its transportation needs. At the same time, the Transportation Research Board estimates that 50 percent of the state transportation workforce will be eligible to retire in the next 10 years. In addition to the pool of qualified workers decreasing, the existing workforce will require ongoing training to keep abreast of rapidly changing transportation technologies. Because of these major challenges, the FHWA claims that developing “a skilled, technically competent workforce is the single most effective effort the transportation community can make.”

As a Regional University Transportation Center, NEXTRANS aims to be a leader in attracting and preparing students to be part of a highly-skilled workforce. In addition to providing graduate students with experiential learning opportunities, the Center strives to attract new students to the field of transportation, as well as enhance the skills of those already in the field.

Since its inception, the NEXTRANS Center has:

  • Expanded our partnership with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) to prompt female and/or minority students to seek higher education in the fields of civil/transportation engineering.
  • Fostered a partnership with Martin University to help diversify the transportation profession by attracting non-traditional students.
  • Joined with other Regional University Transportation Centers to participate in the Transportation Leadership Graduate Certificate (TLGC) Program, a distance-learning program geared towards early-to-mid-career transportation professionals.
  • Recognized students from Crawfordsville High School for their dedication in improving awareness of their local Amtrak station.
  • Launched the NEXTRANS Undergraduate Summer Internship Program, which provides up to 6 competitively-selected undergraduate students with the opportunity to complete a ten-week program of transportation research and activities at Purdue University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or The Ohio State University.
  • Sponsored its first high school intern.
  • Sponsored the NEXTRANS Indiana High School Essay Contest in Transportation. The goal of this contest is to encourage students to consider how integral transportation is to the future of Indiana and our nation, and potentially interest them in pursuing transportation-related careers and/or higher education in the field.
  • Co-sponsored The Ohio State University’s Smart Campus Transit Laboratory. This lab will provide data and technological resources that can be integrated into both research and educational projects, with an eye towards not only challenging engineers, but also involving and interesting humanities students in transportation’s real-world applications.
  • Participated in workforce development panels at the Indiana Logistics Summit, the Ohio Transportation and Engineering Conference, and the 21st Century Transportation Workforce Summit.
  • Hosted a workshop on Public Private Partnerships that gave students the opportunity to analyze a toll road project from the perspective of private-sector investors.

To learn more about the NEXTRANS Center's recent educational activities, download the latest issue of the NEXTRANSporter.

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