The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) recently announced that it has been recognized by the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS)–San Francisco Bay Area Chapter as the 2023 Employer of the Year for its “work, efforts and initiatives in fostering success for women and minorities.”
“We are proud to recognize the Authority with the Employer of the Year award for their commitment to advancing women in transportation, which is reflected by their leadership team, of which 67% are women, and their workforce, of which 50% is female,” said WTS San Francisco Chapter President Jasmin Mejia, who presented the award at the organization’s annual gala on Sept. 20. “We celebrate the Authority for leading by example.”
In 2019, a report from the Mineta Transportation Institute revealed women make up less than 15% of all transportation workers, while U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports indicate women made up just 7% of the rail industry.
“The Authority is taking the lead on empowering women to take leadership roles in the transportation industry,” said Northern California Regional Deputy Director Morgan Galli. “It’s an honor to be part of an organization being recognized for prioritizing and cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce to deliver this groundbreaking, first-in-the-nation, environmentally sustainable transportation option.”
According to CHSRA, more than half of the Authority’s total workforce is female—as well as most of the executive team, many were appointed under the Newsom Administration. Major initiatives and programs led by women at CHSRA include strategic delivery; legal counsel; strategic communications; legislative affairs; information technology; planning and sustainability; administration and human resources; diversity, equity and inclusion; engineering; and regional leadership.
Earlier this year, CHSRA was recognized by WTS International, an 8,000-plus organization with chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada, dedicated to “shaping the future of transportation for the public good through the global advancement of women,” as Employer of the Year and by the WTS Sacramento and Los Angeles chapters in 2022 as Employer of the Year. In January 2023, CHSRA’s “I Will Ride” program received the Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award, which recognizes a transportation organization that has contributed significantly to promoting diversity, inclusion and multicultural awareness.
Since the start of construction, CHSRA has created more than 11,000 construction jobs, a majority going to residents from the Central Valley. CHSRA has begun to extend the 119 miles under construction to 171 miles of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield. There are more than 25 active construction sites in California’s Central Valley, with CHSRA having environmentally cleared 422 miles of the high-speed rail program from the Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin, including the entire Northern California section from Merced to San Francisco.