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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government


Federal Highway Administration
September 24, 1998

Thursday, September 24, 1998
Contact: Karen Whitney
Telephone: 202-366-0660
FHWA 41-98

Up to $2.1 million for educational programs also announced

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater and National Association For Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) President, Dr. Henry Ponder, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support transportation education initiatives and to improve campus safety.

The signing took place during the first National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week conference, hosted by Catherine LeBlanc of the White House Initiative on HBCUs.

"President Clinton’s highest priority is education because it is the key to opportunity," Secretary Slater said. "That is why the Department of Transportation is investing record amounts in education, research, and technology through partnerships and programs such as the ones we're announcing yesterday."

The Memorandum of Understanding will expand the participation of HBCUs in initiatives such as the Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Futures Program, which challenges one million students to develop the math, science and technology skills needed for transportation careers. It will also support transportation internships and other educational activities, including programs to increase seat belt use and reduce drunk driving among students.

"Transportation careers represent one in seven jobs and the highest paying employment sector in America. As we look to the future, we want to encourage all Americans to consider careers that will help our nation meet tomorrow's complex transportation challenges," said Gloria J. Jeff, deputy administrator of the department’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), who joined the Secretary in the signing ceremony.

The announcement also includes up to $2.1 million in new funding for FHWA's Summer Transportation Institutes, which introduce promising high school students to careers in transportation and for a new federal employment information touchscreen initiative, which will give HBCU students information on job opportunities at the U.S. Department of Transportation. The new funding also will enable improved safety on HBCU campuses through programs to increase seat belt use, reduce drunk driving and support safety curricula. Additionally, it will expand HBCU participation in internship programs and increase employment and educational opportunities for HBCU students at the department. The increased funding was one of several actions announced by an FHWA Task Force on HBCUs and other Minority Institutions of Higher Education (MIHE).

Other task force initiatives to be implemented include:

  • establishing partnership agreements in each state or territory where HBCUs and MIHEs are located;
  • setting goals for the participation of HBCUs and MIHEs in research and technology; and
  • increasing the number of transportation institutes and internships.

    The goal of the task force, established in 1996 by then-FHWA Administrator Slater, was to enhance and increase participation of HBCUs and MIHEs in all phases of FHWA programs, particularly research and technology.

    The agreements and initiatives announced yesterday also will provide the foundation for the involvement of HBCUs in other DOT activities such as support of transportation improvements in Africa. The funding announced is in addition to $5.3 million included in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) for the HBCU University Transportation Centers and the more than $10 million annually for research (fellowships/internships) and scholarships at HBCUs throughout the country.

    Additional information about the department’s educational initiatives, especially the Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Futures program, is available from the Internet at http://education.dot.gov/.


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