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Addressing People and Skill Needs in Transportation Agencies: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Personnel

Chapter Highlights

  • Successful public and private organizations have made human resource management a fully integrated strategic partner within the organization.

  • A strategic approach to agency recruiting, training, and retention recognizes that human resource activities are highly interrelated and often complement and reinforce each other.

  • Because workforces of state departments of transportation and transit agencies encompass a range of job skills with several classification levels, recruiting, training, and retention strategies for individual agencies encompass a wide variety of activities.

  • The success of scholarship, cooperative education, and tuition support programs in providing qualified transportation agency staff suggests that such programs could serve as a cornerstone for recruiting efforts in many agencies.



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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies 4 Addressing People and Skill Needs in Transportation Agencies: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Personnel Chapter Highlights Successful public and private organizations have made human resource management a fully integrated strategic partner within the organization. A strategic approach to agency recruiting, training, and retention recognizes that human resource activities are highly interrelated and often complement and reinforce each other. Because workforces of state departments of transportation and transit agencies encompass a range of job skills with several classification levels, recruiting, training, and retention strategies for individual agencies encompass a wide variety of activities. The success of scholarship, cooperative education, and tuition support programs in providing qualified transportation agency staff suggests that such programs could serve as a cornerstone for recruiting efforts in many agencies.

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies Training is essential to transportation agencies as they address expanded agency missions, the need to keep skills current, changing skill needs in downsized organizations, and rapidly changing technologies. Re-recruiting—recruiting experienced people who are changing careers or seeking work after early retirement— can provide applicants seeking the advantages of stability and work–life balance that transportation agencies can offer. In this chapter, what transportation agencies can do to meet their strategic staffing needs in today’s highly competitive labor environment is examined. The focus is on recruiting, training and retraining, and retaining employees and on succession management. Where possible, research findings concerning these activities are provided, practices that have proved successful for private- and public-sector organizations are described, and the committee’s suggestions for action by transportation agencies are presented. What the committee believes is a fundamental principle for a successful organization—making the human resource function a strategic partner in setting the organization’s strategic direction—is addressed in the first section. In the second section, how an organization’s strategic plan determines its core competency needs and how these needs focus recruiting, training, and retention activities are described. In the sections that follow, research and experience concerning how to recruit, train and retrain, and retain qualified people are described. It is important to note that human resource activities are interrelated and that, for example, some actions taken to improve employee retention also support recruiting efforts. Moreover, specific agency human resource activities must be customized in light of different job categories and employment requirements. Finally, succession planning and potential agency partnering activities are addressed in separate sections.

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies IMPORTANCE OF STRATEGIC HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Background As discussed in Chapter 2, there is no single organizational or operating model for a state department of transportation (SDOT) or a transit agency (TA). Each is unique because of state or local politics, history, geography, size, population, governmental structure, and other conditions.1 Overall, however, as the dominant owners/operators of the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure, SDOTs are responsible for building, operating, and maintaining a vast array of infrastructure components for a variety of modes, whereas TAs share a common mission of providing public transportation service. Both SDOTs and TAs have planning, environmental, budgeting, finance, and data-gathering and analysis responsibilities. In addition, the work of SDOTs and TAs—like that of other public agencies—involves a network of partnerships among government agencies, private companies, nonprofit organizations, and elected officials (Kettl 1993). Public and private organizations that recognize the importance of human capital to their long-term success and establish human resource management as a strategic function do best at dealing with the uncertainties of a changing work environment and workplace (NAPA 2000).2 Such organizations recognize that the human element must be explicit in strategic plans, which provides the basis for identifying human resource requirements, competency needs, and competency gaps (OPM 1999).3 Accomplishing this requires the active participa- 1 SDOTs differ in “size, staff makeup, jurisdictional responsibilities, political organization, services rendered, demographic characteristics, geography, and professional profile” (Warne 2003). 2 On the basis of more than 20 studies of key governmentwide human resource management and service delivery issues and nearly 30 public agency technical assistance projects, the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) identified this as the key to a successful human resource enterprise (NAPA 2000). Much of this discussion is based on the NAPA report. In 2002 President Bush made human capital a key focus for federal agencies (OMB 2002). 3 A benchmarking study for the Georgia Department of Transportation revealed that without a strategic focus for human resources in SDOTs, sustained attention to workforce development is often lacking (Sterling Institute 2002). According to a study of exemplary TA practices, “in most cases the senior human resources manager is a member of the executive staff and participates in strategic direction-setting deliberations” (McGlothin Davis 2002, 36).

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies tion of human resource managers as fully integrated partners in the development and implementation of such plans. Decisions about privatization, outsourcing, devolution, and the like stem from policy debates about what governments should do in-house and what they should have the private sector do for them. These decisions can also reflect the nature of work, skill availability, the impact of technology, and other factors. Such debates often generate change. SDOTs are changing as their mission broadens (AASHTO 1998) (see Chapter 2). The changes stem from how agencies choose or are directed to accomplish their mission. Thus, as individual SDOTs change, they become increasingly differentiated by the kinds of work done by their staff. The changes in TAs are not as extensive, but for both SDOTs and TAs, deciding how work will be done and who will do it is a strategic-level decision that drives human resource management. The Strategic Workforce Planning Process The purpose of strategic workforce planning is to ensure that the organization has the human resources it needs to accomplish its mission. The organization’s leaders must assess the nature and content of its current and future work and the kind of workforce required to perform it. They must identify and react to the social, technical, economic, political, and environmental factors that may change the agency’s mission or priorities. Tracking these changes and evaluating how they affect workforce needs help identify gaps to be addressed. These gaps form the basis for actions aimed at providing the workforce needed for future agency work. The workforce planning process addresses four key issues: Identifying the composition and content of a workforce strategically positioned to deal with possible future situations and business objectives, Identifying the specific capability gaps—including any special skills required by possible future situations—between the current and future workforces,

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies Preparing recruiting and training plans for permanent and contingent staff that address these gaps, and Determining what functions or processes can and should be out-sourced and how this will be done. Exemplary organizations are developing carefully crafted workforce planning strategies using multiple approaches or activities (NAPA 2001). Each organization must take into consideration the factors mentioned above that make it unique, as well as its culture, what its employees value, and its industry. The proposed workforce planning process prepared for the Georgia Department of Transportation shown in Figure 4-1 exemplifies the needed components. CORE COMPETENCIES AND JOB REQUIREMENTS The core competencies of an organization are the collective knowledge, skills, and abilities that set the organization apart from others and without which it cannot accomplish its primary mission or business and realize its desired outcomes. Core competencies reflect how an organization chooses to accomplish its mission. Traditionally, the core competencies of SDOTs have been oriented to civil engineering because of the agencies’ focus on infrastructure provision and historical decisions that they would rely on their own engineering staffs to accomplish their mission. Nevertheless, the missions and core competencies of SDOTs, as well as individual core competencies and job requirements, are changing. Table 4-1 summarizes these changes for SDOTs. At the same time, the committee recognizes that each SDOT and TA defines its own mission and core competencies, along with individual core competencies and job requirements. The core competencies for SDOTs in Florida, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are provided in Appendix D. Although each organization is unique, their individual core values share a common focus on leadership, organizational knowledge, and managing for results. The broadened mission of SDOTs has resulted in the need for a wider range of knowledge, skills, and abilities. Moreover, as some

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies FIGURE 4-1 Proposed Georgia Department of Transportation workforce planning process (CSF = critical success factor; FTE = full-time equivalent; HR = human resource; WFP = workforce plan).

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies TABLE 4-1 Agency Mission, Competencies, and Job Requirements Characteristic Basic Description Changes Under Way Agency mission The agency’s mission or role is determined by legislation; that mission or strategic function translates into functional activities undertaken by the agency The mission of SDOTs has expanded beyond building a high-way network to include protecting and enhancing the high-way investment, adding capacity as needed, and managing other transportation while supporting and balancing economic, social, and environmental goals. Agencies are hiring others to perform all or parts of certain functional activities Agency core competencies Core competencies are the collective knowledge, skills, and abilities that set an organization apart from others and without which it cannot accomplish its primary mission or business and realize its expected outcomes. Core competencies are needed to ensure successful performance but cannot be outsourced Agency core competencies can change when an agency re-organizes or when it changes how it wants to fulfill its mission. If an agency decides to contract out large portions of specific functions, it will need more contract specialists and fewer technical specialists for that function Individual core Competencies Individual core competencies are the knowledge, skills, and abilities individuals must have to perform specific activities Traditional SDOT core competencies focus on planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining highway facilities and systems. Changing emphases within agencies have resulted in the need for new and broadened skill sets. Knowledge of environmental, energy, ITS, and other issues and program management, team-building, and consensus-building abilities are now required Job requirements These are determined by the activities staff must perform to fulfill agency functions. They vary across agencies depending on how each chooses to fulfill its mission Some states have developed or are developing detailed job requirement information for each of their job classes. Such information helps define benchmark requirements, determine what jobs are nonessential and can be outsourced, and document essential tasks and expertise

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies SDOTs increase the amount of work they contract out, the way to accomplish their mission, as well as the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed, changes accordingly. This change is reflected in new agency core competency needs.4 How contracting out can change key skill needs is described in Appendix E. These needs are also affected by such factors as the increasing application of intelligent transportation system (ITS) technologies. RECRUITING QUALIFIED PEOPLE Recruiting for key positions in SDOTs and TAs must reflect current and future workforce needs and the labor market. Although traditional recruiting techniques are likely to continue to be used in addressing agency needs, customizing the recruiting process to better align tactics, market conditions, and the positions being filled can help agencies deal successfully with current and possible future recruiting issues, including multiple career paths, a pleasant work environment, training and education opportunities, work–life balance, freedom of location, and attractive financial and compensation/benefits packages. While government agencies and some private companies may not be able to address all these issues to the same degree, they can view them as useful benchmarks for evaluating strategies and innovative practices.5 Although SDOTs use a variety of recruiting approaches, most rely on campus recruiting. Many have traditionally hired newly graduated engineers and rotated them through a series of work assignments within the agency.6 Some SDOTs have long-standing alumni 4 As organizations get better at identifying their core competency needs and skill gaps, they can document the skills they no longer need. Staff with unneeded skills must be retrained, reassigned, or rotated out of the organization. 5 James Krug, FMI Engineering Recruiters, told the committee that work–life balance is the primary issue for recruits under age 40, whereas the compensation package is the primary issue for those over 40. 6 A survey of engineering job applicants to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation revealed that the ministry’s 4-year job rotation program is an important attraction for engineering graduates seeking an employer that provides competitive compensation and opportunities for exposure to diverse disciplines and state-of-the art technologies. The rotation program is structured to qualify participants for professional engineering licensure requirements by its conclusion.

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies connections with state universities, while others have research or other organizational ties that enable them to identify and encourage potential job applicants. The Kentucky Department of Transportation, for example, has a successful scholarship program that provides it with many graduate engineers (see Box 4-1). Other potential sources for job applicants are university cooperative engineering BOX 4-1 Kentucky Department of Transportation Scholarship Program Since 1948, the Kentucky Department of Transportation (KYDOT) has had a program of civil engineering scholarships at four state universities. At present, 75 scholarships are available annually. KYDOT currently has a workforce of 6,100, of whom 445 are engineers; two-thirds of these engineers are graduates of the program. The scholarships have conditions. An applicant must be a Kentucky high school graduate or a Kentucky resident, maintain a minimum semester or cumulative grade point average of 2.5 based on a 4.0 scale, continue to maintain full-time student status (12 credit hours per semester), and complete 30 credit hours by the end of each school year. The student receives a stipend: $3,200 for freshmen and sophomores, and $3,600 for juniors and seniors. The student applies to the state university of his or her choice. After graduation, there is a 1-year rotation program (2 months in six locations), followed by a 1-year intensive assignment. KYDOT may provide summer employment as long as the student is making reasonable academic progress. Salaries for summer employment are based on university credit hours earned and range from $1,121 to $1,427 per month.

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies TABLE 4-2 Example College Recruitment Timetable (NAPA 1999) Activity Time Frame Establish company or organization identity on campus Continuous Identify candidates for formal job interviews Fall or early spring semester Job interviews on campus Spring semester, earlier rather than later Site interviews at headquarters Invitation issued within days of campus interview—conducted soon thereafter Decide whom to hire Recruiting team generally makes final decision on the day of the interviews; other required approval, if any, obtained within a day or two Issue job offers Within a day or two of the interview Decision by candidates Generally flexible, with ongoing contact Start work Negotiable education programs, scholarship programs, summer employment for promising undergraduate students, support for graduate student research, research partnerships between agencies and universities, agency support of student engineering association activities, and job fairs. Career development information can be provided via websites, videos, CDs, and printed materials; career-day participation; and support for mentoring programs, science fairs, and internship programs (Mason et al. 1992).7 The timetable for the college campus recruiting process shown in Table 4-2 illustrates the many activities involved in such recruiting, as well as the continuous nature of the process. A recent survey of SDOT recruiting practices confirms that the agencies are becoming more innovative in recruiting (Gilliland 2001). States are using benchmarking and salary surveys to increase salary levels, developing flexible employment arrangements for employees with special physical or family needs, and establishing employee satisfaction programs that include frequent communication with supervisors. 7 Several sources stressed to the committee the importance of organization websites for attracting today’s young college graduates and other potential job applicants who are computer proficient.

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies They are also instituting bonus programs for new hires, referrals by existing employees, and retention in critical job categories; streamlining the hiring process to reduce delays; and using multidisciplinary teams for recruiting visits and interviews (Gilliland 2001). More specific methods are used for some individual job categories. For example, when one state agency found it difficult to recruit information technology specialists, it instituted an internal training program for employees desiring a career change. Applicants who pass a screening test participate in a 6-month training program while continuing to receive their salary. Trainees are guaranteed the option of returning to their previous jobs if the training is not successful. In its initial year the program had a 100 percent retention rate. Other actions taken by SDOTs include the following: Partnering with a state university to establish individual development plans addressing both personal and departmental goals, with all employees being offered core competency courses to increase individual effectiveness and specialized courses to prepare them for future career opportunities; Providing incentives for highly motivated or economically disadvantaged students to complete their education while working at the agency; Working with the universities within a state to establish distance learning opportunities for advanced degree programs in areas of needed expertise; and Helping universities prepare and monitor senior design projects to provide undergraduate engineers with exposure to multidisciplinary projects that reflect agency experience. Re-recruiting, or attracting adults making a career transition, has proved successful at several SDOTs looking to add or replace skills in middle- and upper-management positions. Highly qualified people who are retiring from another organization often remain interested in working in a stable work environment or wish to accumulate additional retirement benefits. Re-recruiting involves many of the same

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies saw the need to prepare employees for leadership as the agency began adapting to a changing environment. They undertook a long-term strategic initiative to create a pool of talent for targeted management and technical positions through the development of key competencies. Initially, 56 top positions were identified as critical to the agency’s strategic objectives. MNDOT’s succession management process operates as follows. An employee succession plan survey helps identify those who are interested in being considered as candidates for the top positions. Individuals are rated by their managers and themselves against the competencies. An executive management review process identifies the top candidates; individuals who are not forwarded receive feedback on areas in which they need to develop for future consideration. This screening process occurs at three levels: division, bureau, and department. After final decisions are made, an individual development strategy is prepared for each competency. The MNDOT process compares well against the eight benchmarks listed above (see Table 4-7). NAPA (1997) points out that the voluntary nature of identifying high-potential candidates may have some unintended consequences. The late bloomer who is not selected after volunteering several times may become discouraged. Moreover, some individuals do not have a good perspective on their potential as a leader and may not opt into the process. Some provision for volunteering by individuals, combined with nomination by managers, could provide a more balanced process so that all candidates with high leadership potential will be identified. PARTNERING AND COOPERATIVE EFFORTS In today’s competitive world, no single business, agency, employee organization, educational institution, or union can single-handedly tackle the challenge of educating and training the transportation workforce. Developing a skilled workforce and improving the academic and technical skills of youth and adults are clear areas of mutual

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies TABLE 4-7 Benchmarking MNDOT’s Succession Management Process (NAPA 1997) Benchmark Comments Commitment of leaders The process has the full participation of top officials and the support of line managers using a collaborative approach that allows for organizationwide involvement Integration with business plan The strategic direction of the organization and the succession plan are integrated primarily by using the strategic direction of the organization as the context for reviews at each level Ownership of the program Broad representation from all levels of the organization helps focus ownership Leadership pool MNDOT develops a pool of leaders Leadership competencies A task group prepares a clear set of competencies Regular review A thorough review process occurs at each level Leadership development MNDOT emphasizes job assignments and temporary or permanent reassignments, along with education and training and individual initiatives as development tools Follow-through The process ensures participant and managerial accountability on at least an annual basis interest and advantage for agencies and private companies. The 21st Century Workforce Commission (1998) has stated that partnerships based on local, state, and regional models and supported by well-designed state and federal policies and programs can create mechanisms for addressing these and other workforce issues. Cooperative efforts and strategic coordination involving public agencies and private organizations can leverage the use of limited resources aimed at attracting and educating workers in areas of common interest and need. Box 4-3 describes the AASHTO Lead State Program, a cooperative effort aimed at promoting the implementation of research products, which could serve as a model for SDOTs and TAs in cooperatively promoting human resource improvements. Box 4-4 describes a program being developed by the Community Transportation Development Center that is aimed at creating union–agency partnerships for developing transportation career ladders. The types, sizes, and varieties of potential partnerships are numerous, but all require leadership and commitment. Partnerships

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies BOX 4-3 The AASHTO Lead State Program as a Partnership Model for Implementing Best Practices In the mid-1990s, as some SDOTs began implementing the research products developed by the AASHTO-sponsored Strategic Highway Research Program, AASHTO established several initiatives aimed at accelerating the adoption of these products. One initiative, the Lead State Program, helped ensure that practical experience with the research products would be shared among all states. A Lead State was a transportation agency (together with its contractors and suppliers) that used a specific technology on a large enough scale to gain experience with it and its procedures. The Lead State then volunteered to share this experience and approaches for adapting the products to specific sites and conditions with other agencies on a formal basis. The program helped shorten the learning period for these agencies. In addition, accelerating implementation through the direct assistance of peers serves to increase the return on the research investment. Lead State teams were created in each of seven technology areas, and an SDOT contact was identified as team coordinator. Team members provided a peer-level point of contact for SDOTs seeking to implement a research product and, in some cases, organized and participated in on-site meetings and consultations to assist in implementation. Agency employees created a pooled-fund project supported by AASHTO to help defray some of the program costs—especially travel.

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies BOX 4-4 Union–Management Partnerships to Train Transit Agency Employees The Community Transportation Development Center, a nonprofit organization whose board of directors includes representatives from both management and labor in the transit industry, develops labor–management partnerships for workforce development. One such partnership, the Keystone Transit Career Ladder Partnership, was launched in December 2001 with the cooperation of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, the Port Authority of Allegheny County, the Transport Workers Union, the Amalgamated Transit Union, and the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. With support from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, the partnership is developing and piloting new training curricula across a range of transit occupations experiencing skill shortages with the goal of developing career ladders for incumbent workers so they can progress into higher-level positions. Training of incumbent workers can avert layoffs as new technology is introduced. The partnership also engages local community organizations in recruiting new hires and supporting their entry into transit careers. Such organizations recruit from among dislocated workers, youth, and those reentering the workforce from public assistance and other programs. While the curricula being developed are technology oriented, they also address entry-level training, basic skills, and aptitudes. As of January 2003, skill assessments were planned, under way, or completed at transit agencies in Johnstown, Altoona, Erie, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Wilkes-Barre. After these assessments are completed, similar assessments will be scheduled for nine other transit agencies in the state. Source: CTDC 2003.

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies face considerable hurdles. All stakeholders are independent entities, and many have strong traditions of operating without coordinating services or engaging in joint planning among institutions and programs.29 Many organizations are unaware of the existence of the full range of activities and potential outcomes of partnering. Those having had negative experiences with partnering may believe that the system is too intractable for joint effort to be of any value in addressing their specific needs. Their competitive nature may spur them to go their own way and avoid the possibility of helping another stakeholder. Moreover, even though partnering helps leverage limited resources, the cost involved may be a deterrent. Partnering also takes time. Despite these potential impediments, the 21st Century Workforce Commission (1998) found that various partnerships could be productive and beneficial. Partnerships aimed at developing the transportation workforce might include the following:30 Raising student awareness and achievement in K–12 education; Forming stronger linkages between middle and high school students and postsecondary education and transportation careers; Helping identify pathways for youth and adults to enter the transportation workforce; Increasing the numbers of workers who acquire skills for the transportation workforce through postsecondary education programs; Expanding lifelong learning opportunities; Increasing access to transportation workforce opportunities to all segments of the population; Defining the skills needed for specific job categories; Developing regional, state, and national job posting systems; and 29 This was highlighted at the 2002 National Transportation Workforce Summit (FHWA 2002). 30 The first three items in this list continue to be addressed by groups, including the National Academy of Engineering and others. Appendix G summarizes key information the committee reviewed on this topic.

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies Developing a central listing of all available computer-based and long-distance training. Research partnerships can also yield workforce development benefits. Collaborations between transportation agencies and universities can support research into specific agency problem areas and expose graduate students to the working environment and career opportunities at the agencies. In 2001 the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) entered into such a collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Illinois at Chicago, and O’Brien-Kreitzberg, an engineering and management consultant. CTA and MIT have formulated a research agenda aimed at developing knowledge to help in critical capital and operating decisions facing CTA. Student researchers are from both universities; CTA staff and several consultants provide technical expertise as needed. Several interns from the first year of the program have taken full-time positions at CTA and other transit agencies. SUMMARY There is evidence that strategic workforce planning sets the stage for what agencies need to do in the areas of recruiting, training, retention, and succession management. Successful companies recognize that without locating human resource management at a strategic level within the organization, they will be unable to effect change. In addition, recent studies of private-sector and federal agency workforce issues provide guidance to human resource managers in transportation agencies. A key step for agencies is identification of their core competency needs and inventorying of required knowledge, skills, and abilities, coupled with a gap analysis to identify specific agency skill needs. Technology change and innovation are requiring continuous or lifelong learning to acquire and retain skills at an appropriate level. Benchmarking studies indicate that exemplary organizations spend the equivalent of about 2 percent of their payroll costs on training. Such organizations view training as an investment in their people and their organization’s future. In addition to providing training for em-

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies ployees, some organizations require that employees spend a specified amount of time in training, some provide monetary or other incentives for training, and others reimburse employees for a portion of annual educational or training expenses. Transportation agencies at all levels are in a position to partner with one another and with other organizations in addressing workforce issues and sharing successful practices. The National Transportation Workforce Summit illustrated the willingness of federal transportation agencies to partner with other stakeholders to address the issues involved. Sustaining such partnerships, however, will take continuing leadership, time, and resources. Box 4-5 summarizes several promising practices for recruiting, training, retention, and succession management. The committee encourages agencies to consider these strategies and to adopt or adapt them as appropriate and evaluate their effectiveness. The results of such evaluations should be shared with other agencies to help advance this field of knowledge. BOX 4-5 Selected Practices with Demonstrated Potential to Improve Recruiting, Training, Retention, and Succession Management at Transportation Agencies Recruiting Practices Employee referral programs that focus on agency sources, current or former employees, and internal job postings as well as schools and fraternal, religious, and community organizations Scholarship programs, university cooperative engineering programs, and summer employment for promising

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies undergraduate students provide a direct link between educational programs and agency employment Flexible work time schedules that allow employees to set their own start and end times while continuing to work a specified number of hours each week Re-recruiting aims at experienced employees from other sectors seeking a job, career, or location change Training Practices Management and financial commitment to training based on a benchmark, for example, a percentage of employee salaries, to support strategic agency needs Advancement based on skills improvement—union and agency–employee agreements on advancement focusing on skills attainment rather than seniority Focusing training programs on specific licensing and certification goals aimed at strategic agency needs Using a range of techniques—such as job rotation, on-the-job training, self-directed learning (often technology-based), mentor relationships, and on-the-job coaching based on agency need and resources Retention Practices Work–life programs that focus on individual employee needs to achieve a balance that benefits both the agency and the employee

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The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit agencies Providing experienced employees with updated or completely new skill sets—retraining—so that they can be assigned to new jobs Older worker retention—providing arrangements such as shared jobs and permanent part-time appointments to encourage older workers with key skills to continue working Succession Management Practices Succession planning based on employee input—surveying employees to establish a potential leadership pool Incentive-based career development—encouraging employees to participate in executive development programs by offering incentives to volunteers for work reassignments REFERENCES Abbreviations AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials CLC Corporate Leadership Council CTDC Community Transportation Development Center FHWA Federal Highway Administration GAO General Accounting Office NAPA National Academy of Public Administration OMB Office of Management and Budget OPM Office of Personnel Management 21st Century Workforce Commission. 1998. Building America’s 21st Century Workforce. Washington, D.C. AASHTO. 1998. The Changing State DOT. Washington, D.C. Becker, B. E., M. A. Husefeld, and D. Ulrich. 2001. The HR Scorecard: Linking People, Strategy, and Performance. Harvard University Press. Cappelli, P. 2000. A Market-Driven Approach to Retaining Talent. Harvard Business Review, Jan.–Feb., p. 103.

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