The Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM) hosted a University Transportation Center (UTC) -Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) Summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The October 21st event, sponsored by a CUTC New Initiatives grant, brought together representatives from UTCs and TCUs nationwide to discuss strategies for advancing partnerships that will help connect Native American students to transportation careers and higher education. Arlando Teller, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Tribal Affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation, opened with a welcome and overview of the UTC program as well as additional US DOT grant opportunities. Patrick Nemons, Director of the Office of Safety Programs with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, provided attendees with resources and strategies for obtaining federal grants, focusing on the important role minority-serving institutions play in advancing the nation’s transportation programs.
Representatives from UTCs provided attendees with an overview of their research themes and outreach and education efforts, highlighting any existing UTC-TCU partnerships. The majority of the Summit was spent on roundtable discussions with TCU attendees exploring themes related to research, training, and workforce development needs, linkages between two-year and four-year institutions, and education and outreach efforts to attract diverse students to transportation careers. The workshop wrapped up with a discussion on strategies and guiding principles for establishing mutually beneficial TCU/UTC partnerships.