NEWS RELEASE: California High-Speed Rail Authority Named Employer of Year by International Women in Transportation Organization

May 12, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) has received the 2023 WTS Recognition Award – Employer of the Year from the international chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS). The recognition caps a series of regional “Employer of the Year” awards for the Authority by the Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area WTS chapters over the past 18 months. The Authority was recognized for exemplary efforts to encourage advancement of women’s careers in the transportation sector, which historically has predominantly employed men.

Photo of women standing on stage with Award

Deputy Director Beverly Kenworthy accepts the Employer of the Year award.

“Our hard-working, diverse staff is key to our continued success in advancing the largest, greenest public infrastructure project in the nation,” said Authority CEO Brian Kelly. “To be recognized by WTS International is a great honor and validation of the industry-leading women within this organization who are paving the way for future generations in our industry.”

“California deserves a workforce that’s representative of all its residents. We recognize that our incredible diversity is the foundation for our state’s strength, growth and success – and that confronting inequality is not just a moral imperative, but an economic one,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “I commend the California High-Speed Rail Authority for promoting the advancement of women in the transportation industry, which sets a standard for all infrastructure projects across the nation.”

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.

“As a woman and leader in transportation, I am thrilled to witness the recognition of the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s continued efforts to empower women and others who have been historically left behind in our industry, said Karen Philbrick, executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute and board member of WTS International. The Authority mirrors the values that have continually made California a global leader: innovation, diversity and hard work. The Authority is leading our industry in the way forward and this award is very well deserved.”

More than half of the Authority’s total workforce is female – as well as most of the executive team, many appointed under the Newsom Administration. Major initiatives and programs led by women at the Authority 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.

The Authority was recognized by both the WTS Sacramento and Los Angeles chapters in 2022 as Employer of the Year. In January 2023, the Authority’s “I Will Ride” program received the prestigious Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award, which recognizes a transportation organization that has contributed significantly to promoting diversity, inclusion and multicultural awareness. WTS, an 8,000-plus strong organization with chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada, is dedicated to shaping the future of transportation for the public good through the global advancement of women. More information can be found here:

Click here to watch our thank you video to WTS.

The Authority has begun work to extend the 119 miles under construction to 171 miles of future electrified high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield. To date, more than 10,000 construction jobs have been created since the start of the project. There are more than 30 active construction sites in California’s Central Valley, with the Authority having environmentally cleared 422 miles of the high-speed rail program from the Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin. In addition, advanced design work has also begun in the Central Valley for the nation’s first high-speed rail stations.

For more on construction, visit:

The following link contains recent video, animations, photography, press center resources and latest renderings:

These files are all available for free use, courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.


Micah Flores
916-330-5683 (c)


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