When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down PennDOT offices across the state, District 1 employees were putting the final touches on an outreach event for area teens. The program was put on the backburner as the team was forced onto other tasks. The success of telework procedures and the use of Skype to hold a variety of meetings and trainings got the planning committee thinking – perhaps the event could be revamped instead of postponed.
The original idea was to host up to 50 teens at the District 1 office in Venango County with a curriculum based on the Boy Scouts of America's merit badge lessons on engineering and traffic safety. Members of the Civil Engineer Council and the Information and Data Management unit would teach the lessons on topics, including becoming a Professional Engineer and career opportunities, holding a traffic study, and safe driving behaviors.
Inspired by online learning offerings hosted by other groups, the team realized many of the topics could be taught through group video conference calls. A shift in planning went into effect and the event was slightly rescheduled from one evening in mid-June to a series of one-hour afternoon sessions in late June.
The engineering lessons will be held from 2 to 3 PM June 22 to June 24. The traffic safety classes will be held from 2 to 3 PM June 29 to July 1.
While the event is targeted toward teens in the northwest region, it is open to anyone age 12 to 17. Advertising for the event has been done online, mainly through regional PennDOT Facebook and Twitter accounts, and the local BSA office. Within hours of the first post, the first registration requests were already received, and all spots for this session have since been filled. Thank you to everyone who signed up!