Recently, teachers from across the state came together for the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) annual Roadways Into Developing Elementary Students (RIDES) program training.

RIDES was developed by MDOT in 2004 and is designed to improve STEM skills, and prepare students in grades K-8 for the workforce of the future. Students utilize critical thinking skills to solve real world problems and learn about careers in the transportation industry, specifically civil engineering.

“Mississippi is a national leader in the RIDES program,” said Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT Executive Director. “By incorporating this training into classrooms around the state, MDOT hopes to encourage a new generation of Mississippi engineers.”

There were three different training programs divided between the Northern, Central, and Southern divisions. The Northern division training program took place at the CAPPS Center in Indianola. The Central division’s program was hosted at the Clinton High School Career Complex in Clinton, and the Southern program was in the Biloxi Public Schools Dukate Training Building in Biloxi.

Once teachers complete the two-day training, they receive the RIDES module, which contains ready-to-use lesson plans and a trunk of resources containing all the materials the teacher needs to conduct the hands-on activities in their classrooms. The RIDES curriculum and activities are aligned with the National Math and Science Standards, Mississippi Frameworks for Math and Science Education and the College and Career Readiness for Math.

“State DOTs are facing new challenges on several fronts,” Matt Dunn, MDOT District 1 Assistant Engineer of Maintenance, explained. “As technology develops rapidly, we need to adapt proactively to operate safer, more effective transportation systems. Attracting and keeping a highly-skilled workforce is critical.”

For more information about MDOT’s educational outreach programs, visit

MDOT Press Release