On Monday September 21, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary LaHood kicked off a partnership with Spelman College in Atlanta that will develop women leaders in transportation and offer a head start to future women small business owners. This Pilot Entrepreneurial Training and Technical Assistance Women and Girls Program will provide internships and mentoring for young women, as well as entrepreneurial training for female small business owners in the region.
(In attendance at the signing of the agreement was Myra Burnett, Vice Provost of Spelman College, joined by Mr. Brandon Neal, Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, and Secretary Ray LaHood, Secretary of the US Department of Transportation.)
Joining Secretary LaHood and Spelman Vice Provost Dr. Myra Burnett were Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. Congressman Lewis reminded us of Spelman’s historic legacy and how this program continues the college’s long tradition of leadership. By illustrating Spelman’s unique place in the fabric of the region and the country as a whole, Congressman Lewis showed us how far we’ve come, but also what lies ahead.
While it is true women have not always been as well represented in transportation as we would like, the White House Council and this program are steps to change that. Transportation is one of the most challenging and exciting industries in the country right now, and we would love to see more and more women pursue careers at DOT, such as air traffic controllers, highway engineers and safety inspectors – all good paying jobs – or other opportunities in the transportation field. With Spelman, which has produced exemplary women leaders since 1881, we could not have asked for a better partner. For more info on this and other DOT resources for women and girls, see http://www.dot.gov/wg/
Marlise Streitmatter is Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Transportation