More than 100 high school students participated in the 2023 Norman Mineta Bay Area Summer Academy, a paid internship program to reach underrepresented youths and give them insights on potential careers in public service, while gaining familiarity with the Bay Area’s regional governments.
It was the first in-person high school convening since before the pandemic and brought together students from across all nine of the Bay Area counties.
This summer’s thematic focus was on access for people with disabilities, and how bringing an equity and universal design approach yields better systems for all. Speakers and advocates from the disability community, including Maddy Ruvolo, a MUNI planner who serves on the Biden Administration’s U.S. Access Board, were featured. The program also brought in Ron Brooks, a nationally-recognized expert on accessibility in transit who is sight impaired.
Other speakers included:
- MTC Chair Alfredo Pedroza
- Norman Mineta biographer Andrea Warren
- Former El Cerrito Mayor Ann Cheng
- TikTok star Mr. Barricade (1.8 million followers)
Professional staff from MTC, MUNI, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and the California High Speed Rail Authority were also featured.
Students received stipends of $250 for completing the program, plus a certificate to use when applying for jobs and college, and additional prizes for top presentations. Students also joined the MTC alumni network on LinkedIn and found out about jobs and opportunities.
The 112 overall participants represent a 300% increase over the previous record for high school intern participants, with anonymous survey results stating that nearly 50% rated the Summer Academy as “excellent”, with the remaining 27% rating it as “very good” and 24% rating it as “good.”
This was the third year of the Bay Area Summer Academy, which is a partnership between MTC and other regional Bay Area agencies, including the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the San Francisco Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission.
The Bay Area Summer Academy was named for Secretary Norman Mineta after his passing in 2022. Mineta dedicated his life to public service: as San Jose City Council member and mayor, representing the South Bay in Congress, and serving as the Secretary of Transportation under George W. Bush. under George W. Bush.