Philadelphia, PA – First Lady Frances Wolf, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards and Philadelphia International Airport CEO Rochelle “Chellie” Cameron today spoke to more than 100 high-school and college students as well as regional professionals on the importance of women in public service and transportation.
The forum, moderated by Liz Smith, manager of long range planning at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, was held at Drexel University.
“Our government should reflect the people we serve, and since women make up more than half of Pennsylvania’s population, recruiting more women to public service is crucial to ensure Pennsylvania’s women have a voice in Harrisburg and at all levels of government,” said First Lady Frances Wolf. “The Wolf Administration is committed to diversity and inclusion because our diversity is our strength.”
According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are more than 60 million women in the labor force today, yet women make up only 8 percent of engineers, 18 percent of engineering technicians, and 30 percent of natural scientists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that roughly 15 percent of the more than 9.1 million people working in transportation and material-moving occupations are women.
“Having diverse perspectives makes any team more effective, and the same goes for managing transportation assets,” Richards said. “Women need to know that their perspectives are invaluable and the transportation industry is no different.”
While overall percentages of women in engineering-related fields are relatively low, the number of women studying engineering is increasing. According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, only 5.8 percent of women were engineers in the early 1980s. Now, about 18 to 20 percent of engineering students are female.
“I’m honored to participate in this event with these accomplished women in the fields of transportation and public service,” said Chellie Cameron, CEO of the Philadelphia International Airport. “Sharing our unique stories to help young women pursue and advance in careers in transportation is important to our region and our country. We know when women have an opportunity to participate and lead teams, our communities, businesses, and governing organizations are stronger.”
Members of the public who are interested in commonwealth employment can visit www.employment.pa.gov for more information. Information on student programs as well as professional opportunities at PennDOT is available at www.penndot.gov/jobs.