Student Opportunities

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At IDOT, we believe that investing in the future of transportation comes primarily from hiring a quality workforce and training workers to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. But other activities, such as mentoring young people in the community and reaching out to students at elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities statewide are equally important. By mentoring and investing in young people through various IDOT programs and activities, the department encourages hands-on experience to help put dreams into action through a wide array of opportunities in the transportation industry. Through these aggressive and competitive programs, we try to seek out the best student and invest in them, so that they in turn can invest in us to help transform transportation for tomorrow.

 

Elementary/Middle School

Engineering Academies

Preparing Today's Youth for Tomorrow's Workforce

In cooperation with educational institutions and industry partners across the state, IDOT has developed Engineering Academies across the state for middle and high school students. Engineering Academies are designed to provide realistic application of math and science through instruction and hands on projects that encourage teamwork and problem solving. Engineers from IDOT and the transportation industry volunteer their time to instruct and mentor each academy participant during the sessions.

The goal is to provide realistic engineering experiences through projects that encourage teamwork, problem solving, and practical application while helping students understand and prepare for exciting and challenging career opportunities in the transportation industry.

For eligibility requirements and more information, please visit the Engineering Academies page on our Diversity Matters! website.

Civil Engineering Essay Contest

The purpose of IDOT's Essay Contest is to heighten the awareness of the field of Civil Engineering among Illinois students. Contest is open to 5th, 6th and 7th grade students at Springfield Ball Charter School. For more information, please visit the Civil Engineering Essay Contest page on our Diversity Matters! website.

Engineering Explorers Program

The Engineering Explorer Post Program provides students practical hands-on experience in the engineering field with additional opportunities to spend time with and be mentored by engineering professionals. The Explorers program involves young men and women from diverse backgrounds between the ages of 14 to 20. The main objective is to encourage high school and college students to consider and pursue careers in engineering, and to help answer questions about admission requirements, specialty programs, and scholarship opportunities to put them on the path to success.

The Engineering Explorer Post meets monthly and is funded through member dues, fundraisers, and donations. In 2012, the program was able to raise enough to offer two $500 scholarships to its members. Currently, the program involves IDOT volunteers, mainly engineers and technicians. Other IDOT employees also are encouraged to get involved and make an impact in the lives of these young explorers. With continued support, volunteers hope to continue to create an engaging educational experience for Illinois high school and college students interested in the field of engineering.

For more information about the Engineering Explorers Post Program, please contact Terry Fountain, Bureau of Local Roads, Division of Highways at (217) 782-4690 or by email at Terrence.Fountain@illinois.gov.

International Walk to School Day

International Walk to School Day (IWTSD) is an opportunity for schools to ensure children can safely walk or bike to school while encouraging students to improve their own health through the walking and biking, and the health of the environment by reducing vehicle emissions from cars and buses that take them to school.

IWTSD originated in Chicago in 1997 as National Walk our Children to School Day. The original walk-to-school day was designed to create community awareness about safety for children as they walk to school. IWTSD is an annual event that takes place in October. Every year, IDOT contacts approximately 4,600 schools to encourage participation in the IWTSD event. In 2013, 167 Illinois schools registered and participated.

This statewide event is sponsored by the Illinois Safe Routes to School Program and IDOT’s Green Initiatives.

For more information on Safe Routes to School, please click here.

For more information on IDOT’s IWTSD, please contact William Hall atwilliam.e.hall@illinois.gov or at (815) 434-8520 with any questions about the event.

School administrators participating in IWTSD should visit the Walk Bike to School website

American Journey: Learn about Illinois

Created by Scholastic Inc. and generously sponsored by Amtrak® and IDOT, American Journeys: Learn About Illinois provides easy-to-use lessons, maps and research activities that support Illinois state education curricula. Please encourage young children to have fun while learning about maps, travel, research, and more using this outstanding resource!

High School

Career Day

Career Day is a workforce development tool designed to introduce high school students in Chicago and downstate to careers in the transportation industry. Through hands-on activities, exhibits, and heavy equipment demonstrations, local middle and high school students get the opportunity to learn about  exciting transportation related careers.  Please visit the Career Day page for more information.

Office Occupations Trainee (OOT) Program

The OOT program is designed to recruit and train high school seniors into clerical positions. Students perform various duties, including typing, filing, and operation of various business machines. The student must be enrolled in office training classes and maintain satisfactory performance in their job duties and academic work. Typically, the OOT Program begins in June before a student's senior year and terminates 30 days after the student’s graduation.

The process for hiring OOT’s begins with the high school counselors giving students a background questionnaire to fill out. The counselor then uses the information to ensure that the students have the qualifications and credits to participate in the program. After the counselor has reviewed the questionnaire, it is given to IDOT’s Personnel Office and interviews are scheduled accordingly.

The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC)

RWDC is a public-private partnership aimed at sustainably improving the long-term science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce in Illinois. RWDC provides high school students the opportunity to work on real world engineering challenges in a collaborative, team-based environment and apply the lessons of the classroom to the technical problems of the workplace.

RWDC is a groundbreaking public-private partnership that will enable students to learn apply the math and science theory to the kinds of real engineering issues facing today’s aviation industry. Teams of students work together with a teacher to explore innovative solutions to specific problems posed by aviation industry professionals. Their results are evaluated by scientists, engineers, college, and university faculty and teachers. The best team in each state goes on to compete in the national competition held in Washington, D.C. RWDC bridges the needs of industry with the future of education.

For more information, please visit RWDC website or please contact:

Prudence Draper
Illinois State Coordinator
Email: Prudence.Draper@illinois.gov
Phone: (217) -524-8825

National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI)

NSTI is designed to introduce secondary school students to all modes of transportation careers and encourage them to pursue transportation-related courses of study at the college or university level. This program promotes academic excellence and prepares future leaders in society. The purpose of NSTI is to promote awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) educational and career opportunities among disadvantaged and at-risk middle and high school students around the country.

NSTI is open to current freshmen and sophomore students and the following requirements must be met: 2.5 cumulative GPA (on a 4.0 scale), letter of recommendation (from a teacher, counselor, or activity leader), current transcript, personal interest statement, and be able to work independently and in groups.
For more information regarding NSTI at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) visit the UIC webpage.

College

Summer Technical Program (May 16-August 31)

  • Engineering Program
    This program is designed to give engineering students an opportunity to obtain on-the-job training. Eligible students will have completed a minimum of one year (30 semester hours, 45 quarter hours credit) of college courses in engineering and up to four or more years in engineering or related curriculum.

$15.85/hour Downstate

$17.00/hour Chicago

  • Non-Engineering (Technician Trainee) Program
    This program is designed to give non-engineering students an opportunity to obtain on-the-job training. High school graduates and college students majoring in areas other than engineering are eligible to apply.

$11.10/hour Downstate

$12.00/hour Chicago

*Traditionally, postings for the summer and winter programs are posted about a month before the program is scheduled to begin. Please check the vacancy announcements page for the corresponding postings to apply.

Winter Technical Program (January 1-May 15)

  • Non-Engineering (Technician Trainee) Program
    This program is designed to give non-engineering students an opportunity to obtain on the job training. High school graduates and college students majoring in areas other than engineering are eligible to apply.

$11.10/hour Downstate

$12.00/hour Chicago

*Traditionally, postings for the summer and winter programs are posted about a month before the program is scheduled to begin. Please check the vacancy announcements page for the corresponding postings to apply.

Cooperative Education (CO-OP) Program

In conjunction with Illinois colleges and universities, IDOT offers a Cooperative Education Program that provides participants with employment during or after college. Through the program, participants can receive practical experience with a wide range of transportation responsibilities and practices continuing through professional development and advancement.

College students must be enrolled in one of the following emphasis areas at an accredited college or university:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Related Majors which must be approved

In addition, to remain in the program, the participant must maintain status as a full-time student and have a minimum grade point average of a “C." A Grade Report must be returned to IDOT’s Personnel Office at the completion of each semester. Performance will be rated at the end of each semester and summer work period.

Positions available within IDOT are Engineering Technician I (ET I) or Management Technician I (MT I) only. Applicants need to apply using a PM 1080 form.

The participant must work at least 18 hours per week in mutually agreeable blocks of time during normal office hours. Hours worked outside normal hours must be approved in accordance with IDOT's needs.

Work will be assigned depending on IDOT's needs while giving consideration to the participants’ development.

Upon graduation, IDOT may elect to offer employment to the participant. However, participation in the program does not guarantee permanent placement. If employed, the participant is not required to commit to any specific length of service with IDOT after graduation.

Tuition reimbursement is not permitted under this program.

A participant’s failure to meet academic or work related requirements of the program is cause for termination.

Graduate Public Service Internship (GPSI) Program

GPSI is a 21 month internship program through the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS). The hiring process is conducted by the University.

Students simultaneously work towards a professional career while earning one of 20 Master's degrees offered at UIS.

Located within the Center for State Policy and Leadership, GPSI is ranked as one of Illinois' premier governmental internship programs. For more than 30 years this program has provided top-flight graduate students with a high-quality graduate education, real world experience, and lifelong connections.

Students are encouraged to apply regardless of academic background. After completing program requirements, many interns continue working in state government, while others gain employment at other levels of government or pursue opportunities in the private sector.

For more information or application, please visit the UIS' website.

Michael Curry Summer Internship Program

This 10-week internship program starts June 1. Applications are submitted to the Office of the Governor for review, and then distributed to participating agencies based on the agency’s requests for students.

The Michael Curry Summer Internship Program offers college juniors, seniors and graduate students in all disciplines (including law) an opportunity to work in one of the agencies under the jurisdiction of the Governor full-time during the summer. Positions are available in Springfield and Chicago.

For more information and/ or application, please visit Office of the Governor