Video highlights positive impact of MDOT's Transportation Diversity Recruitment Program

Contact: Jeff Cranson, MDOT Director of Communications, 517-648-8247
Agency: Transportation

Fast facts:
- MDOT is working with HBCUs to recruit and introduce underrepresented groups of students to transportation-specific career opportunities.
- Nearly 60 students showcased what they learned at a recent event hosted by U-M.
- A new MDOT
video features several students and highlights the success of the program.

July 27, 2021 -- Students gain hands-on experience. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has the opportunity to educate and inspire the next generation of transportation professionals. These are two of the primary benefits of MDOT's Transportation Diversity Recruitment Program (TDRP) that are being highlighted in a new video released today by the department.

"This program, its structure, the fact that it's been around for eight years and it's only getting bigger and better, is really incredible," said Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, who graduated from the University of Michigan (U-M) with engineering degrees in computer science and computer engineering. "As someone who's benefited from having just thoughtful and conscientious mentors who helped to make me successful, that's what we want for every young person who's looking to pursue careers in whatever field." 

MDOT has been working with students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and colleges throughout Michigan to offer valuable on-the-job training and job shadowing to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in engineering or other transportation-related careers.

"I think it was a great experience," said program participant Dana-Simone Griffith from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. "Things I learned in class reflected what I learned in the field."                          

"The experience with the TDRP and MDOT has been amazing," said Jervani Thompson, program participant and Texas Southern University student. "It established what I want to do and solidified how I want to integrate computer science and civil engineering together."

The students were interviewed at a recent celebration in Detroit sponsored by U-M. The event showcased the internship experiences and highlighted the projects and partners that hosted each intern. Lt. Gov. Gilchrist and State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba were both speakers at the event.

The TDRP began with four students eight years ago and has grown to include 59 students this season. The 10-week program allows students to work alongside other on-the-job training program participants, internal staff and external professionals who provide engineering, technical, inspection, and project management services for state road and bridge projects.

Visit the TDRP page on the MDOT website for more information.