August 19, 2021

UW-Superior and Michigan Tech host 11th Annual Intermodal Summer Youth Program

The Transportation and Logistics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Superior partnered with Michigan Technological University to host the 11th Annual Rail and Intermodal Summer Youth Program July 11-17.  After the 2020 program was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s program drew 22 high school participants from as far away as New Jersey and California. 

Continuing pandemic restrictions prompted organizers to conduct all activities on the Michigan Tech campus and the surrounding region. Previous years had featured participants coming to the UW-Superior campus for activities and tours of rail and intermodal locations around the Twin Ports.

Dr. Daniel Rust, UW-Superior Associate Professor in Transportation & Logistics Management, traveled to Michigan where he led participants in classroom activities related to the movement of intermodal freight and to the concept of supply chains. He also accompanied participants on tours in Michigan of a Pettibone manufacturing facility and the ore loading facilities at the Eagle Mine’s Humboldt Mill. At the mill, the Mineral Range railroad invited program participants to tour two of its locomotives. The 2021 program featured many additional hands-on activities, both in the classroom and beyond. 

“I enjoyed interacting with this group of young people who were eager to learn more about the rail and intermodal industries, as well as how transportation fits into the overall supply chain of a product,” said Rust.

Participants praised the program with comments such as, “It really helps to get an idea of working conditions for a railroad more than sitting in a classroom,” “It is very interactive and teachers are very patient to answer our questions,” “Seeing the railroad industries at work was amazing,” “This is a good program for people who look to get a job in the railroad industry,” and “I would recommend this program to anyone interested in rail and transportation.” 

Hopefully next year’s program participants will have opportunity to visit transportation-related locations in the Twin Ports again.  A special “thank you” to all of the companies and organizations that support this program to help recruit and train the next generation of transportation professionals.  Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) Scholarship funds were used to help keep student participation costs affordable.

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