What if you were asked to design a new public transportation system for a big city, but it had to be faster, safer, and better for the environment? What would it look like?
If this question sparks your interest, you might want to check out the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
APTA is a national organization whose main goal is to support and improve public transportation across the United States. Part of that mission is to show today’s brightest young minds that there are many important careers waiting for them in the public transportation industry—careers that can change the world.
“The whole field of transportation is a very, very cool industry to think about for a career,” said Joseph Niegoski, director, APTA Educational Services.
“Let’s say you have interests in engineering, or maybe you have interests in marketing, or interests in finance—or maybe you’re a good person to plan and really good with logistics. There is a job for you at all levels.”
One of the unique things about APTA is that it hosts a number of events each year where middle and high school students like you can learn about the public transportation field, get college and career advice, meet actual public transportation professionals, and even share their world-changing ideas for the future with today’s scientists and lawmakers.
“One thing that APTA does very well is that they engage students from either middle school, high school, technical schools, and college to an array of programs,” said Lydia Gross, a transportation professional who works for the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.
Lydia went on to describe a few of APTA’s student events, which you can learn about by visiting the APTA website. Among others, they include the APTA Youth Summit, where 50 students from across the nation enjoy an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., stay at a local university campus, learn from a panel of transportation experts, and even meet government officials including members of congress and the Secretary of Transportation. At the National Symposium, middle school students in classrooms across the United States can take part in a national video conference to showcase their ideas for the future of “green” technologies in transportation.
“These events,” said APTA’s Joseph Niegoski, “are all about APTA’s commitment to creating a brighter future for the nation’s public transportation system.”
“It’s important not only for students to have this opportunity—it’s also important for folks who are seasoned professionals, to hear these new ideas, to hear how young minds are thinking,” Niegoski said.
According to Lydia Gross, it’s an opportunity for today’s talented students to learn about an industry where their skills are highly sought after.
“No matter what your career is—whether you come in as a front line employee and you operate the buses, or you’re the mechanic repairing the buses, or the supervisor in the fleet getting the buses out, to an engineer, a lawyer, an accountant, or all the way to the general manager—no matter what your career is, we make a difference. We are providing a vital resource to the community,” she said.
To learn more, pay a visit to the APTA website at www.apta.com.