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I Need More Workforce Development!

In today’s evolving landscape of school transportation, workforce development stands out as a crucial need. As we navigate the complexities of ensuring safe and efficient transportation for students, the demand for skilled professionals in this field is more pronounced than ever before. Attending state, regional and national school transportation conferences emerges not just as an option but as a necessity for professionals who seek to enhance their expertise and contribute to better outcomes for students and school transportation operation.

Many industry professionals I’ve spoken with are hungry for more workforce development. The importance of attending these conferences lies in the wealth of opportunities they offer for professional growth and networking. Educational sessions, led by industry experts, delve into the latest trends and best practices, equipping attendees with valuable insights to improve their skills and knowledge. The investment in attending these events not only benefits individuals but also enhances the capabilities of entire transportation operations, leading to safer and more efficient services for students.

Keynote speakers and panel discussions provide inspiration and motivation, fostering a growth mindset among attendees. Personal stories and experiences shared by successful professionals serve as guiding lights, empowering individuals to pursue their goals with renewed confidence. Moreover, conferences like the STN EXPO+ Green Bus Summit and leadership training programs such as the Transportation Director Summit offer platforms to connect with like-minded peers, explore new technologies, and forge valuable partnerships.

Teresa Fleming, deputy chief operations officer at the School District of Philadelphia and the 2023 STN Transportation Director of the Year, attests to the immense value derived from attending such conferences. She emphasizes the importance of networking, knowledge exchange and the opportunity to explore innovative solutions showcased at trade shows. Fleming underscores the tangible benefits that conferences bring to school transportation professionals.

“I’m planning to bring more team members to STN EXPO in Reno this year. And I am looking forward to networking with other innovative school transportation professionals. Also, I love seeing all the new products at the trade show,” Fleming told me.

Networking events and trade shows facilitate interactions with peers, suppliers and industry stakeholders, fostering collaborations that address pressing challenges. Whether it’s exploring advancements in green energy, safety measures or special needs transportation, conferences provide a holistic platform to stay informed and connected.

The top reasons cited by attendees for participating in conferences networking and professional development underscore their significance in driving industry progress. By attending these events, professionals can not only expand their knowledge base but also broaden their professional network, opening doors to new opportunities and collaborations.

As you look ahead, I want to personally invite you to register for STN EXPO EAST in Indianapolis at “The Crossroads of America,” on May 31–June 4, or STN EXPO WEST in Reno, Nevada, the “Biggest Little City in the World,” on July 12-17. You can learn more about the unparalleled opportunities for school transportation professionals to engage, learn and grow. By embracing these opportunities for development, individuals and organizations alike can pave the way for a brighter and more efficient future in school transportation. Learn more at stnexpo.com.

Networking events and trade shows are also important for people that are looking to expand their professional network and stay up to date on the latest trends and technology. The opportunity to meet with peers, suppliers school bus dealers and OEMs has a big value for conference attendees. The trade show can also act as a place to conduct market research to find the best products and partners for your school district or organization needs to address key challenges around operations, safety, security, driver training, green energy, maintenance routing and special needs.

Attending conferences and leadership training programs can offer numerous benefits to individuals and organizations. The opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills, network with other professionals, and gain inspiration and motivation from successful speakers. If you are an individual looking to grow professionally attending conferences and trade shows can be a valuable investment in your future success.

Editor’s Note: As reprinted in the April 2024 issue of School Transportation News.

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