Women & Girls in Transportation Initiative (WITI) Success Stories


Hello. I’m Brandon Neal, the Director of Small Business here at the U.S. Department of Transportation. I’d like to introduce YOU to our Women and Girls in Transportation Initiative Program W-I-T-I – or WITI for short. It was established to provide Women and Girls access to career opportunities in the transportation industry.
In response to a directive from the President, the U.S. Secretary Transportation and this
office, we launched the pilot Entrepreneurial Training and Technical Assistance Women and
Girls Program at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. 29 young women successfully participated
in the pilot and received internships at various businesses and agencies in the Atlanta area.
To date over 300 individuals like YOU participated in WITI and successfully used their experience
to launch their respective careers. This is an effort from both the President and the
First Lady and they said this: If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of
the world, then we have to open doors to everyone. We need all hands on deck. And that means
clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering
and math.� We’re working to clear hurdles for young women and girls to find careers
in transportation. WITI is an investment in YOU. YOU are the future, and to secure that
future we’ve got to invest in YOU. The investment we make today will pay off tomorrow with individuals,
such as YOU, successfully working in the transportation industry. WITI’s mission is to prepare youto
become our nation’s future leaders and to increase your participation in the transportation
industry. Through internship opportunities, WITI provides you the opportunity to gain
firsthand experience, in a variety of areas within transportation. In a moment, you will
meet 3 dynamic individuals who were all former WITI participants. They will share with your
their success they achieved as a direct result of their participation in the WITI internship
program. I believe that YOU can be the next WITI success story — Hopefully you do too.
I participated in the the W-I-T-I Program in the spring of 2012. During my internship,
I was assigned to shadow a construction manager engineer who was in charge of the construction
of all mechanically stabilized earth walls along the i-595 project. To me, this was an
eye-opening experience because for the first time I was being able to work next to
engineers and contractors in a major roadway construction project. This internship made
me want to pursue a career in the transportation industry. In 2009 I
participated in the WITI program. I interned at MARTA which is the transportation public
transit agency in Atlanta. And during my internship my career goals developed into it and they
went into another path that I never thought would be possible. The Women in Transportation
Internship has impacted my career tremendously. Had it not been for the pilot that was launched
at Spelman College and my professor Dr. Scott encouraging me to pursue an opportunity that
I had no clue about. I can’t begin to tell you had I not chosen that internship I would
not be where I am today as a brand manager for a top Fortune company. The most rewarding
aspect or participating in the W-I-T-I program is realizing that I was able to be part of
a major transportation project in Florida and I was able to work next to people who
made this project possible. The most rewarding aspect besides
inspiring my career goals has been to serve my community. I’ve always been very keen on
serving my community doing community projects. I volunteered a lot when I was in high school,
as well as college. The most rewarding aspect of my experience was seeing the resources
that were available to under-represented women who were doing things that they
were passionate about. I mean, I was around women who are very passionate about the about
transportation it would have had to offer and finding daily solutions to make it better.
Transportation is a very important industry in the United States because of the economic
impact that it has on our nation. Working in the transportation industry is very rewarding
because no matter how small it project you working on it is that work that you do is
going to affect people’s lives and the economy. What I would say is it’s very important. Transportation
is really the key. I mean we see that people located places where they can get access to
jobs. I would definitely say to keep an open mind. If I
hadn’t had an open mind then I would not be where I am today. I think that transportation
may not come across as the most sexiest of industry out of there, but I can guarantee
you that an opportunity awaits you if you are just to crack the door open and explore
what options are there. After completing my W-I-T-I internship, I obtained my Bachelor’s
of Science degree in civil engineering from Florida International University, and then
I moved to North Carolina where I started working for HNTB. Right now, I’m still working
for HNTB as a transportation engineer one and I’m also pursuing a Master’s degree in
transportation engineering from North Carolina State University. And in the near future I’m
planning to obtain my professional engineering license and as well ,I’m planning to continue
working hard to become a Project Engineer. My career goals and my career path will continue
to be surrounded around you know infrastructure, housing, transportation, all of these things.
Since my internship program ended six years ago, I pursued my MBA. I graduated in 2012
and then was recruited by Ford Motor Company where I’m currently the consumer brand manager
of the Ford Expedition. I look to find ways to innovate this industry to hopefully one
day find a way to relieve traffic woes. I’ll definitely encourage young women to pursue
a career in transportation engineering because our nation needs young creative and fresh
minds who will be able to make our transportation system more efficient and cost-effective.
How do we make transportation better for everyone? You know, how do we become champions of globalization?
You know in the US, abroad also, you know if they want to do anything related to developing
countries they have major issues. They have major issues with congestion. I would definitely
encourage women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We
are so under represented in that area and there is so much opportunity which awaits
one. So, if we could encourage women to pursue the sciences and technologies, engineering
and mathematics, I can guarantee you there’s an opportunity for you. So you see the WITI
Program is successful in providing Women and Girls access to opportunities. The testimonies
you’ve heard represent only a small fraction of the total impact that this program has
created. Every day more and more people just like you are creating their own stories of
success. I believe that you, can be the next WITI success story. Hopefully, you do too.
For more information on the WITI program in your local area, please visit the website
below. Thank you for tuning in. It’s been my pleasure.