California State University, Long Beach
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Transportation Workforce Development Summit Set

Published: January 15, 2010

METRANS Transportation Center and Mineta Transportation Institute (San Jose State University), in partnership with Long Beach City College, will present a statewide policy summit on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 1 and 2, titled “Ensuring the Growth of California’s Transportation Workforce: Developing the Right Workers for Today’s Challenges and Tomorrow’s Jobs.” The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach.

“The state is facing a critical shortfall in its transportation workforce. We have to think beyond the recession to the retirement of the baby boom generation and the impact it will have on California’s competitiveness,” said Tom O’Brien, Director of Research at the Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT) and Associate Director, METRANS CSULB programs. “Our ability to keep pace with the rest of the nation depends upon trained professionals who can plan for and build tomorrow’s transportation systems. We have to act now–change is already underway. Emerging technologies come with new skill sets, and new legislative priorities at the state level may require transportation engineers to learn to calculate carbon footprints within the next few years. Planners need to learn human resource management tools to address the organizational change that is happening now.”

The summit, a prelude to a national summit in Washington, D.C. scheduled for later this year, is geared toward educators, planners, engineers, CEOs, HR managers, and anyone else who hires, trains, or wants to become a transportation professional. Expert panels will address career development, skills gaps, training strategies, outreach, best practices, and more.

“This summit is a very timely and important event,” said Marianne Venieris, Executive Director, CITT and Deputy Director, METRANS Transportation Center. “A skilled workforce is the backbone of a healthy economy and we are pleased to stage an event that addresses California’s workforce challenges in the transportation sector. The importance of our summit is substantiated by the quality and stature of speakers and panelists on the agenda.”

Scheduled participants include F. King Alexander, president, CSULB; Peter H. Appel, administrator, Research and Innovative Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation; Lou Anne Bynum, vice president/assistant superintendent, Economic and Resource Development, Long Beach Community College District; Richard Callahan, associate dean, Director of State Capital and Leadership Programs for the School of Policy, Planning, and Development, University of Southern California; Rod Diridon, Sr., executive director, Mineta Transportation Institute, San Jose State University; Eloy Ortiz Oakley, superintendent/president, Long Beach Community College District; Barry Sedlik, president, California Business Ventures; and Christopher Steinhauser, superintendent, Long Beach Unified School District.

Keynote sessions will focus on national workforce development needs, the impact of organizational change on the demand for workers, and opportunities for industry/government/education partnerships. Panel discussions will focus on the state of the transportation workforce in California; workforce development issues for industry and practitioners; education the 21st century transportation workforce; emerging pathways for young students; re-training for career and organizational change; and other related topics.

The panel discussions on Monday include “How Do Workforce Issues Challenge the Future of a 21st Century Transportation Industry?,” “State of the Transportation Workforce in California: Trends in Public Policy and Emerging Industries,” “Taking on the Future: Workforce Development Issues for Industry and the Practitioner,” and “Pathways to Careers in Transportation.” The keynote speaker’s topic at lunch will be “Role of the Transportation Manager and Organizational Change.”

On Tuesday, panel topics will be “Colleges and Universities: Educating the 21st Century Transportation Workforce,” “Industry Experience: A Student’s Key to Success,” “Re-skilling for Career Change and Organizational Change,” and “What We’ve Learned and the Next Steps.” The keynote panel topic at lunch will be “Building a 21st Century Workforce from the Ground Up – An Educational Partnership That Works.”

In addition to the panelist and keynote talks, the summit will showcase projects that respond to transportation workforce development challenges in innovative ways. Included will be showcases from CSULB’s CEERS Summer High School Education Programs and the Global Logistics Specialist Professional Designation, Master of Arts in Global Logistics, and Veterans to Careers programs.

Registration for this two-day professional summit including breakfast and lunch on both days is $125, $95 for students. The summit begins on Monday, Feb. 1, with registration and a continental breakfast at 9 a.m., with the day concluding at 6:30 p.m. The second day begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast and ends at 4:30 p.m.

Further information, including agenda and registration details, are available at or contact Alix Traver at or 562/ 985-2876.

METRANS Transportation Center, a partnership of CSULB and the University of Southern California and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Caltrans, is dedicated to solving metropolitan transportation problems through research, education and outreach.