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Student Opportunities

PennDOT provides a variety of programs for students from elementary through post-secondary school to explore careers in the transportation field. These programs include college internships, the School to Employment at PennDOT (STEP) high school cooperative program, job shadows, group career exploration events, and tours.

Internships

PennDOT's summer internship program provides college students with the opportunity to experience the practical application of the principles they are learning about in the classroom. Hiring more than 600 interns each summer, PennDOT has a need for students majoring in engineering disciplines such as civil, environmental, architectural, mechanical, etc., and non-engineering programs such as business administration, communications, accounting, computer science, and many other majors that are applicable to PennDOT operations. Students selected for these internships will be exposed to meaningful work as they contribute to ongoing PennDOT projects both in the field and in an office setting.

Summer internship hours are full-time, and, for this reason, they typically conclude when students return to school for the fall semester. If an intern has the ability to work full-time hours, the internship can span from April through as late as October. To be eligible, students must maintain full-time enrollment status for the following fall semester. Full-time enrollment is defined as being registered for 12 or more undergraduate credits (nine or more graduate credits). Students must have completed their first year of college in a two-year associate degree program or four-year bachelor's degree program by the start of the internship and be in good academic standing (a GPA of 2.0 or higher).

Students may be able to obtain academic credit by participating in PennDOT's internship program in addition to the valuable work experience and compensation they will receive during the internship. Interested students should discuss this with their academic adviser to determine if their school offers credit for paid internships.

Generally, applications can be submitted beginning in the December/January timeframe. To apply for a PennDOT summer internship, visit the internships section of the commonwealth's employment site.

College Student Summer Worker

An additional summer employment opportunity for college students is the College Student Summer Worker position. This could be just the job for an enterprising student who may not be eligible for a summer internship but is looking to earn extra money during the summer months.

College students or high school graduates enrolled full-time in any major are eligible. Full-time enrollment is defined as being registered for 12 or more undergraduate credits (nine or more graduate credits).

Typically, the job duties of a college student summer worker will include seasonal maintenance work, crash system input/analysis, and maintenance and custodial services at roadside rest areas. In general, most students in these positions perform laboring duties in maintenance organizations and at work sites along the highway. These positions are a great way to become familiar with PennDOT operations for students who have yet to complete their first year of college or are still unsure of the direction their education is going to take.

To apply for a College Student Summer Worker position, visit the commonwealth's employment site and search for the PennDOT Summer Maintenance Program job posting. This encompasses several job titles, including College Student Summer Worker.

School to Employment at PennDOT (STEP)

The STEP program introduces eligible high school students who have completed their junior year to PennDOT's operations by providing meaningful paid work assignments/cooperative opportunities.

High school seniors are hired to support a variety of PennDOT functions, including areas in skilled trades, professional/technical/business, and administrative/clerical work.

The STEP program may run nine or up to 12 months. Students divide their school day between school and work. When school is in session, students who are 17 years old may work up to 28 hours per week and those 18 and older may work up to 30 hours per week. During times when school is not in session, such as holiday breaks, students may work full-time, 37.5 hours per week, regardless of age.

STEP job opportunities are based on approved work requests prepared by hiring managers. The type and number of job opportunities vary by location within a given year. Generally, in April of each year, school co-op coordinators or guidance counselors will be notified of STEP job opportunities that exist in the school's geographic area. High school student job applications should be submitted only by school co-op coordinators on behalf of the students for jobs that the school received notice.

Students may be able to obtain academic credit by participating in PennDOT's STEP program in addition to the valuable work experience and compensation they will receive during the internship. Interested students should discuss this with their academic adviser to determine if their school offers credit for paid internships.

Job Shadow

Deciding on a future career may be difficult, but also exciting. The PennDOT job shadow program provides an opportunity for high school, trade, and college students to spend a half or full day with a skilled PennDOT employee. Through participation in job shadowing, students are able to immerse themselves in a learning environment and determine if the nature of work observed aligns with their interests and career goals.

Students can observe employees in administration, planning, design, construction, maintenance, and multimodal operations. They are also able to job shadow trade-related jobs like diesel mechanics and CDL equipment operators in PennDOT's county maintenance offices.

The job shadow program provides an opportunity for PennDOT to share professional experience and knowledge in a real-world setting regarding engineering, technical, and other non-engineering careers.

Group Career Exploration

Group Career Exploration events, which are similar to job shadows, are designed to introduce students to PennDOT operations and the career pathways that are available. Through activities such as speakers, facility, or job-site tours, and hands-on activities specifically related to PennDOT jobs, students in elementary through high school can explore careers that may open doors to their future. Through collaborative relationships with schools and communities, PennDOT fosters career exploration by promoting awareness about PennDOT careers.

Tours

PennDOT offers tours of its facilities, offices, and construction sites and the opportunity to speak with PennDOT professionals, based on available staff and safety protocols.

For further information regarding career exploration opportunities, contact our central office or the regional office in the district you wish to visit.