Sparking women’s interests in transportation careers

MTI researchers develop and test college-level educational intervention to attract more young women to transportation

Only approximately 14% of the transportation workforce are women. The pressing need for a workforce with diverse skills and experiences, especially given the critical role transportation innovation will play in combating society’s biggest challenge—climate change. New Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) research, Promoting Interest in Transportation Careers Among Young Women, developed and tested a college-level educational intervention that uses pro-environmental framing and exposure to female transportation role models to help attract more young women to the industry.

The most notable findings of the research include:

  • Female students who completed the climate change course that included the one-class transportation module were more open to working in a transportation career by the end of the semester (17.5% increase) compared to the control group.
  • All students who were exposed to the transportation module better understood (39.7% increase) that the transportation industry can provide a green and sustainable career.

“Students visited the Careers for Change website (www.careersforchange.net) to watch videos of three of the featured transportation professionals and view the articles

accompanying each professional. We designed the website, which includes 5–8 minute interviews with transportation professionals like Dr. Beverly Scott and Dr. Hilary Nixon to highlight the diverse career paths that align with green and sustainable careers,” explain the authors.

The components of the learning module—including pro-environmental framing of the transportation industry and video lectures from women transportation professionals—developed and implemented in this research could easily be adopted by instructors of existing environmentally-themed courses. Attracting students of all genders to the transportation industry will create a more robust, diverse workforce ready to overcome any challenge in the years to come.

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