Mentor program for transportation students launched at NDSU
Jill Hough, program director of the Small Urban and Rural Transit Center within the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, has matched students from her public transportation course with industry mentors from across the country. NDSU is serving as the pilot university for the mentor program that will potentially be replicated nationally. Hough developed the program in response to the call from industry professionals for better workforce development within higher education.
Students will gather valuable insight from their mentors regarding real-world transportation challenges. Hough believes the greatest value of the program is providing students with a true understanding of how the industry works, rather than simply a theoretical, textbook understanding. Mentors and students will discuss a variety of topics such as transportation policies, cost-effectiveness and efficiency, managing budgets, technology application, working with workers’ unions and meeting overall challenges to organizational management.
As part of the program, the students will have the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion on “Higher Education and Workforce Development” at the 2011 American Public Transportation Association Bus and Paratransit Conference in May. The conference also will serve as an opportunity for students to meet their mentors. The Mountain-Plains Consortium is sponsoring the students to attend the conference.
Student-mentor pairings include:
· Dilip Mistry and David Lee, general manager of Connecticut Transit
· Mridula Sarker and Linda Bohlinger, vice president of HNTB Corp.
· Elvis Ndembe and Robert Prince, vice president of AECOM (formerly GM Boston)
· Maria Garcia and Paul Larousse, National Transit Institute