Opening Eyes to Career Opportunities
Nov. 30, 2016: Recently, more than 1,100 students flooded the Hampton Convention Center for the 2016 Transportation Career Expo.
“We were pleased to have another successful event,” said Queen Crittendon, Hampton Roads civil rights manager and organizer of the expo.
“It was great to see the level of engagement between the students and the various exhibitors.”
Representatives were available from the Virginia Department of Education Career and Technical Education, along with the Southeastern Resource Education Board.
These partners also helped spread the word about this event, which increased participation.
Students were able to talk one-on-one with more than 100 transportation professionals and experience various training simulators.
They were excited to sign a snow plow from the Williamsburg Residency.
After being introduced to the varied careers available in the transportation industry, they may take advantage of opportunities at VDOT in the near future.
Giving Back to Nature
Nov. 28, 2016: About two dozen volunteers gathered at a patch of prepared land near the VDOT Richmond District office in October to plant the district’s first pollinator habitat.
Dedicated to combating the threat of extinction faced daily by pollinator species, the 0.3-acre garden is now filled with various wildflowers necessary for their survival.
Richmond District Environmental Specialist Nick Gerardi said he hopes that “by promoting stewardship here at work, folks will be inspired to create habitats around their homes by planting native wildflowers, especially milkweed, which plays a critical role in monarch butterfly development.”
In addition to providing much-needed food for bees and butterflies, the pollinator garden promotes good stewardship of natural resources and is a best management practice in VDOT’s storm water and runoff efforts.
VDOT Engages With Eighth-Graders At Expo
Approximately 12,000 eighth-graders from eight localities – Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan counties and the city of Richmond – attended the event held at the Richmond International Raceway recently.
The VDOT team answered numerous questions about what the agency does and what educational requirements are sought.
The students were able to sit in a front end loader, witness how a life-sized traffic light works and learn about paving, asphalt and aggregate.
“I was told we had one of the best booths at the event,” Human Resources Outreach Consultant Laura Nelson said.
"In fact, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe made it a point to compliment the team on our set-up. The students were amazed that a traffic light was so large!”
Back To The Future on I-81
Nov. 8, 2016: A major safety improvement started benefiting motorists just nine months after the multi-year project began.
The newly constructed northbound Interstate 81 exit 14 on-ramp opened to traffic recently, separating the northbound on and off ramps and providing a key safety enhancement.
As a tribute to when the interstate was first built, classic cars from the 1960s were the first to take to the new ramp. See the video.
The new on-ramp will improve safety by eliminating the existing cloverleaf loops that forced northbound traffic exiting I-81 to weave among vehicles entering the interstate because they shared the same short acceleration/deceleration lane.
The $29 million contract includes replacement of the two interstate bridges over Route 647 (Old Jonesboro Road); separation of the northbound exit and entrance ramps; widening of Old Jonesboro Road; modification of Dennison Drive; and adding signals at the ramp intersections.
The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2018.
VDOT's Northern Virginia Career Fair Held
Nov. 8, 2016: A record 1,500 students attended the 12th annual Northern Virginia Transportation Career Fair at the Prince William Fairgrounds recently.
Students from as far as Lexington and Petersburg came to connect with more than 100 registered exhibitors, including large corporations, small firms, institutions of higher learning, government agencies, and staff from many local VDOT offices and sections.
More than 175 pieces of equipment were on display, with many hands-on opportunities for students.
“The lines to try the equipment were so long, we’ll need to have more next year,” said Northern Virginia Civil Rights Manager Leslie Martin.
Some student favorites?
Heavy equipment simulators, a bridge-building challenge using dried pasta and marshmallows, and a drunk-driving prevention exercise using impairment goggles.
The purpose of this event is to encourage and prepare students for careers in engineering, architecture, technology, construction and other transportation-related fields.