VDOT, UVA partner for new engineering program

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Virginia Department of Transportation and the University of Virginia Center for Transportation Studies are teaming up for a new training and education program.

It's called the Essentials of Engineering Excellence Program, and it;'s part of the Federal Highway Administration-designated Local Technical Assistance Program for Virginia at the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The Center for Transportation is the administrator of the Local Technical Assistance Program and it acts as part of VDOT's professional development arm, helping more than 2,000 transportation workers from across the Commonwealth with training for every phase of road construction, maintenance and administration.

"Our mission is to move people in the safest, most efficient way possible," said Jeff Tipton, the senior training consultant in VDOT's workforce development office. "To do that, we need well-trained, competent professional."

The program has been nicknamed "E3" and it's designed for people who design, build and maintain roadways and bridges in Virginia.
The curriculum lets engineers advance their career goals while also meeting current training needs for VDOT.

VDOT also allows employees to use the program as a pathway to earning a master's degree in engineering.

Program participants who decide to go for the advanced degree will then continue into a Master of Engineering degree program for working professionals that includes 16 four-week online courses.

"E3 provides a bridge between continuing education and our department's graduate programs in a way that embraces the concept of lifelong learning. After all, this is what the Center for Transportation Studies is all about," said Beth O'Donnell, the director of the Virginia Local Technical Assistance Program.

The program will also work with professionals from engineering, environmental studies and transportation, and participants will balance academic work with technical needs for VDOT.

Tipton says he believes investing in people in this way will ultimately serve the taxpayers by leading to improved infrastructure design and execution.

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