While their friends may be traveling or going to the beach, 80 college students have summer jobs at the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), working alongside engineers, surveyors, construction managers, and many other transportation professionals. The students will begin their internships at a special orientation next week on Monday, May 23, 2011.
“The Department is proud to host this program each year to provide hands-on experience in a wide range of disciplines,” RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. “During this difficult economy, these types of programs are invaluable because they provide jobs in Rhode Island that support employment while helping the State retain its home-grown talent.”
Participants over the past 28 years of the RIDOT Summer Internship Program have gone on to successful careers, many in transportation-related jobs. Dozens of interns have been hired to work at RIDOT and several have risen to top leadership positions in the Department. In fact, 31 out of the 112 engineers currently working at RIDOT got their start as summer interns.
Among those whose roots trace back to the summer internship program is State Traffic Engineer Robert A. Rocchio. He manages a team of 16 engineers and has authority over highway safety improvement programs, traffic signal system improvement projects, capacity improvement projects, traffic research and data collection programs, State Traffic Commission studies and projects, work zone safety and mobility programs, roadway signs, pavement markings, highway lighting, and guardrail installation projects.
“As a college student, I greatly appreciated the opportunity of a summer job in my field of study,” Rocchio said. “I realized that I would truly enjoy working in the public service sector and that it would be a very fulfilling environment to spend my career.”
RIDOT is involved in many other career exploration and enrichment programs throughout the year. This includes an agreement with the University of Rhode Island (URI) College of Engineering’s Fast TRAC program, in which participants spend time working at RIDOT as an intern as part of an accelerated five-year master’s degree. Additionally, RIDOT is a partner with URI, the Federal Highway Administration and other agencies and organizations in the annual Rhode Island Construction Career Days, which took place on April 27 and 28, and Engineering Career Day, which takes place today, May 20, at URI.
NOTE: Media are invited to the orientation program on Monday, May 23, 2011 beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Rhode Island Department of Administration, 2nd Floor Conference Room A, One Capitol Hill, Providence. Speakers include RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis and RIDOT Deputy Chief Engineer Robert A. Smith.