By Anthony Foxx
While in Atlanta for the National Conference of State Legislators earlier this week, I had the opportunity to sit down with a talented group of young people to discuss opportunities for careers in transportation. With approximately 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, it's important the next generation is aware and excited about the career possibilities in the transportation industry.
With the need for transportation services always growing, it's a particularly great time to consider a career in the industry. Fifty percent of the current transportation workforce will be eligible to retire by 2013 -- that is double the rate of the overall U.S. workforce. This means there will be a high demand for transportation operators, from truck drivers and pilots to inspectors and rail workers.
There is also a strong need for "high-skill" workers with backgrounds in information technology, telecommunications, and engineering. For today's high school students, it's never too early to start thinking about your future. By focusing on the STEM subjects --Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math -- students can get ahead of the curve now if they plan to pursue a career as an engineer or pilot. As we all push to make transportation more sustainable and environmentally friendly, many "green" jobs -- in areas like energy conservation, alternative fuels, and material recycling -- will also be available.
We need young people's fresh ideas and creativity to help design our roads and bridges, create high-speed rail trains, operate our nation's transit systems, and find environmentally friendly transportation solutions.
President Obama is working hard to make sure America remains a magnet for good jobs, where hard work leads to a decent living. We need America's youth to make that happen. They are the next generation of doctors, and lawyers, and -- hopefully -- transportation experts, engineers and city planners.