HANNOVER, MD (September 22, 2022) – Maryland has a world-class transportation system built and maintained by countless employees who have honed their skills through apprenticeships, internships, and trade schools.
At a Skilled Trades Partnership event hosted Thursday by the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Secretary James F. Ports, Jr., told representatives from community colleges, trade schools and vocational programs high school students that their institutions are key to providing the job skills for MDOT’s future.
Today, Secretary Ports said, MDOT has hundreds of skilled worker positions available for mechanics, electricians, carpenters, masons, plumbers, HVAC technicians, aircraft maintenance workers and others. He said there were more openings at MDOT than people to fill them.
“I know the importance of our skilled trades, and I know it’s possible to start in a skilled position and progress,” Secretary Ports said. “In all honesty, my mission is to connect and partner with skilled trades educators to train the next generation of MDOT employees.”
The Skilled Trades Partnering Event, held at MDOT Headquarters in Hannover, was an opportunity for MDOT to work with organizations involved in workforce development to connect and share ideas on how to partner to place students in MDOT positions. Secretary Ports called on institutions to focus on training young men and women to meet the growing demand for MDOT and help them discover careers with competitive salaries and benefits including health coverage, retirement, vacation paid, reimbursement of tuition fees, etc.
Secretary Ports said trends affecting agencies and industries across the country — including turnover, early retirement, increased competition and the pandemic-spurred “big quit” — have heightened the need to recruit and train new workers.
“We are ready to do our part to build a skilled and productive workforce by working with all of you to close the skilled trades gap,” Secretary Ports said. “Let’s work together to help you grow your business, increase registrations and attract more young adults to the skilled trades.
?MDOT has several existing apprenticeship and internship programs, including the MDOT Scholars Program at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County and the Morgan State University Graduate School Internship Program. Learn more about these two programs here. In addition, MDOT State Highway Administration runs a student internship program in fields ranging from engineering and construction to data analytics and environmental science. Each summer, MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration hosts a ticketed event Summer Youth Initiative Baltimore Youth Internship at Thurgood Marshall International Airport in Baltimore/Washington.
For more information about career opportunities in MDOT’s business units, including skilled trades, engineering, IT, and entry-level positions, visit the MDOT Careers page at ‘address mdot.maryland.gov/tso/pages/Index.aspx?PageId=3.
Organizations wishing to discuss potential partnerships with apprentices and interns can contact MDOT Director of Human Resources Judy Slater at [email protected].
“I’ve always been a big proponent of apprenticeship programs and internships to build the workforce of tomorrow,” said Secretary Ports, who shared his own story of a career that began in the trades as a steam fitter and gas fitter at BGE, and how that experience unfolded a foundation that served him in positions at the local, state, and federal levels.
The secretary touted the successes of several other MDOT employees who started with internships or business programs and launched successful careers — from the qualified MDOT Maryland Transit Administration bus repairman who started as a high school intern to the student who entered a construction internship and is now executive director of the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).
This executive director of MDTA is Will Pines, a student at the University of Maryland, in 2003 when he accepted an internship with MDOT SHA and worked on a highway construction project. Eighteen years later, he was appointed to the executive position of MDTA, guiding an agency with an annual budget of more than $380 million and a six-year capital program of $2.6 billion.
“This internship was a great experience and gave me insight into what I wanted to do and what I could accomplish,” said general manager Pines. “The work was interesting, challenging and really important – and that’s what I wanted in a career.”
Secretary Ports said his story and work experience are just two of many examples of Marylanders. They have found rewarding careers while improving their lives, their families and their communities.
“Whether you represent a trade school, community college, high school with vocational education, or other areas of workforce development, MDOT wants you to be part of our team,” Secretary Ports said. to those present. “Quite simply, once you train them, we hope to hire them.”