Young Machinists Program Lauded at COMTO Summit

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IAM General Vice President Diane Babineaux, center, is joined by, left, Regional Coordinator for TCU/IAM Training Services Department Nicole Burnett and Atlanta TCU/IAM Lead Field Education Representative Felicia Hill at the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials’ 43rd National Meeting and Training Conference in Atlanta.

After being previously honored by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) this past March, IAM General Vice President Diane Babineaux returned to the premier organization to share the IAM’s groundbreaking efforts to educate and train young workers in the transportation industry.

“The IAM is determined to connect with a generation of workers that many people say don’t know or don’t care about unions,” said Babineaux at the COMTO 43rd National Meeting and Training Conference “Garrett A. Morgan Youth Symposium” in Atlanta, focused in part on developing young leaders. “Our Young Machinists program was among the first in the movement. Our young members are strong, they’re passionate, and they’re already making a difference as the next generation of transportation leaders.”

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A poster at the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials’ (COMTO) 43rd National Meeting and Training Conference in Atlanta honors former COMTO President/CEO Julie Cunningham, whose tenure abruptly ended on June 24 with her passing.

Highlights of the conference included a leadership summit, which brought together top transportation decision makers from the private and public sector.

TCU/IAM sponsored a workshop entitled “Leaving the Playing Field with a Skilled Workforce.”

The conference also included a special tribute to former COMTO President/CEO Julie Cunningham, whose tenure abruptly ended on June 24 with her passing.

“Julie was a brilliant leader, who over the past decade moved COMTO from good to great,” said the organization in a statement posted on its website. “We thank her; we will miss her, as we continue to honor her.”

Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater also gave a special tribute to former U.S. Representative and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) who died May 2.

COMTO was created in 1971 to ensure a level playing field and maximum participation in the transportation industry for minority individuals, businesses and communities of color. It has 39 chapters throughout the United States. Members include individuals, transportation agencies, academic institutions, industry non-profits and Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) from every facet of the transportation industry: from highways and roads to mass transit systems; from subways to rail systems; and from port authorities to airports.