COMTO shadow day exposes students to transportation-related career opportunities

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Whitney Morgan, transportation planner with MARC and president of COMTO, welcomes students to the engineering career panel discussion.

When Whitney Morgan, a transportation planner with MARC, is not busy helping the region plan for its transportation system, he serves as the president of the Kansas City Chapter of Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO). For the past three years, he has helped plan and participated in a shadow day program named after Garrett A. Morgan, who invented the traffic signal, among other things. The program is designed to expose students of color and young women to the various careers available to them in the transportation industry.

This year’s shadow day took place on March 21. Students from Topeka, Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, experienced a bus driver simulation at RideKC and tours of the Streetcar Authority facility and the air traffic control tower at Charles B. Wheeler airport. The day concluded with a tour of Burns and McDonnell and an engineering panel.

“These are tomorrow’s leaders and we want them to be aware of all the opportunities within architecture, engineering, planning and construction,” said Morgan of the day’s events. “We need to begin growing a workforce now that will meet the technical demands of the 21st century.”

The event is a collaborative effort between various public and private entities in the region, including the Kansas City Streetcar Authority, Burns & McDonnell, WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, COMTO and MARC.

Learn more and see photos of this year’s Garrett A. Morgan Shadow Day.

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