The National Summer Transportation Institute Program
To address the need of a diverse workforce in the 21st century and to promote greater awareness of career opportunities within the transportation industry, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have established various educational initiatives. The National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI), championed by FHWA’s Office of Civil Rights, its Division Offices, State Transportation Agencies (STA’s), public/private partnerships, community-based organizations (CBOs) and accredited four-year colleges and universities, remains one of the nation’s premiere transportation-centered educational programs.
The purpose of the NSTI is to promote awareness of educational and career opportunities among disadvantaged and at-risk middle and high school students around the country. FHWA is the funding and governing agency for the NSTI, and formally established the program as a recognized educational initiative in 1998.
The FHWA’s Office of Civil Rights and Division offices, manages the NSTI and oversees the work of State DOT’s who are responsible for providing technical assistance, guidance, training and support to participating colleges and universities (known as “host sites”). Special emphasis is also placed on securing host site participation by Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities.
Participation in the NSTI is free for students who have an interest in learning more about the transportation industry, its various modes (e.g., highways, aviation, transit and maritime) and how they might pursue post-secondary education concentrating on some aspect of transportation, and the career opportunities therein. In addition to Federal funding, the NSTI program receives support from local sponsors such as area businesses and CBOs, and from the higher education institutions serving as host sites.
The Kansas Connection
In 2008, Donnelly College agreed to serve as a host site for the first Kansas Summer Transportation Institute (STI) program. Donnelly has offered summer programs for low-income, minority, and first-generation youth for more than a decade. Each program focused on academic enrichment (particularly focusing on math and science) and personal enrichment (to help high school youth set goals for college, become aware of different careers, and improve study skills.)
Donnelly worked closely with the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Division of the Federal Highway Administration. The program has brought significant benefits to the high school participants and has met objectives for a core curriculum that introduced transportation career opportunities and enriched the participants’ understanding of the academic skills required for such careers.
The five-week Kansas STI program is affectionately known as TTMASA. (Transportation, Technology, Math and Science Academy).
The TTMASA program continues to be successful and is now in its sixth year.