Video Highlights Michigan DOT Diversity Recruitment Program

The Michigan Department of Transportation recently put together a video reviewing the benefits of its Transportation Diversity Recruitment Program or TDRP, which the agency is using to “educate and inspire” the next generation of transportation professionals.

[Above photo by the Michigan DOT]

“This program, its structure, the fact that it’s been around for eight years and it’s only getting bigger and better, is really incredible,” noted Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II (D) (seen above) in a statement. “As someone who’s benefited from having just thoughtful and conscientious mentors who helped to make me successful, that’s what we want for every young person who’s looking to pursue careers in whatever field.”

https://youtu.be/hzioMpvXzxc
The Michigan DOT said it has been working with students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and colleges throughout Michigan to offer valuable on-the-job training and job shadowing to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in engineering or other transportation-related careers.
The TDRP began with four students eight years ago and has grown to include 59 students this season. The Michigan DOT said this 10-week program allows students to work alongside other on-the-job training program participants, internal staff and external professionals who provide engineering, technical, inspection, and project management services for state road and bridge projects.

The agency also recently created a new executive-level position to help the agency incorporate equity and inclusion in all aspects of its business.

The Michigan DOT’s new position of chief culture, equity, and inclusion officer or CCEIO oversees areas within the Bureau of Transportation Planning, the Office of Organizational Development, the Office of Business Development, the Equal Employment Opportunity Office, and the Office of Economic Development.

The agency noted that it designed this new CCEIO position to help it make “meaningful progress” optimizing its organizational culture, aligning equity and inclusion goals with business outcomes while responding to changes or policies that affect employee and customer populations.

Nevada DOT Offering “Water-Smart” Advice to State Residents

The Environmental Division of the Nevada Department of Transportation is offering state residents landscaping advice on pesticide and herbicide use as well as “water-smart practices” when conducting residential landscaping activities.

[Above photo by the Southern Nevada Water Authority]

“Most people are surprised to learn that homes can be a source of pollution,” explained James Murphy, the Environmental Division’s program manager within Nevada DOT, in a statement – noting that his division oversees disciplines such as stormwater, air quality, noise, wildlife biology, environmental engineering, and cultural resources.

“We encourage Nevada residents to take steps to avoid polluting our waterways, such as avoiding overwatering and applying pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers sparingly, with caution, and per product labeling,” he said.

Murphy explained that, in Nevada, sewer systems and stormwater drains are separate systems. Water that goes down the drain inside a home via toilet or sink goes to a wastewater treatment plant where it is treated and filtered. Conversely, water that flows down driveways and streets into gutters goes directly into a storm drain that flows untreated into lakes, rivers and streams.

Thus runoff from landscaped areas may contain fertilizers, pesticides or other materials that are harmful to lakes and streams, stressed Charles Schembre, an environmental scientist with the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

He explained that the most important thing residents could do to prevent stormwater contamination from landscaping activities is to avoid watering the sidewalk. Installing a buffer between the lawn and sidewalk – such as rocks, woody mulch or plants – will prevent runoff onto the sidewalk. This is a critical component in reducing runoff of pollutants into storm drains, he said.

Other tips include:

  • Use “healthy soil” practices and use organic fertilizers and pesticides sparingly; make sure to follow product label instructions.
  • Consider planting trees, seeds and plants that are native to Nevada, which require less water.
  • Use “selective” herbicide applications to target just weeds and avoid affecting desirable plant species. Avoid spraying during conditions where herbicides may drift to non-target plant species – specifically when wind speeds are greater than 15 mph.
  • Use organic mulch or other pest control methods whenever possible.
  • Install a buffer between the lawn and sidewalk to prevent irrigation runoff onto the sidewalk.
  • Pick up pet waste and dispose of it properly.
  • Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on the grass so the water infiltrates into the ground instead of spilling into storm drains.