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21 CHAPTER THREE EXPERIENCES OF STATE DEPARTMENTS OF TRANSPORTATION INTRODUCTION strategic plan was 5 years. The others were for a time period that varied from no specific time to 20 years. More than half State DOTs play an essential role in both the economy and of the states updated their plan annually; two updated on a bi- the mobility of the United States and its citizens. Like many annual basis. Only one state did not have a specific timeframe public organizations, state DOTs are facing an aging work- for plan updates. All strategic plans had been in place force, work that is changing quickly in both what is done and between 2 and 20 years, with the majority in place between how it is done, a demand to make strategic and cost-effective 4 and 8 years. The strategic plans for 10 of the 16 organiza- investments in technology, and a workforce that both needs tions (62.5%) had a specific reference to workforce develop- and demands the opportunity to keep their skills and compe- ment and training or other references to employees as valued tencies at a level that allows successful job performance. The resources for the organization. As might be expected, most training programs of state DOTs are key to achieving this plans were both prepared and updated by the agency's exec- goal. For these training programs to be successful, they must utive staff, with input from business units and employees. have a robust infrastructure to support the planning, funding, and delivery of appropriate training programs. This chapter Of those states responding to the survey only 37.5% (6; summarizes the information these organizations shared about California, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, and their training program infrastructure. South Carolina) had a succession planning process. All who had succession planning programs included the identification STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION of training needs related to succession planning. Of states PRACTICES responding, 50% (8) had some type of process that linked funding requests and allocations and organization and indi- Gathering information about the experiences of state DOTs vidual performance assessment to the strategic plan or simi- was multi-faceted. It included extensive discussions with train- lar document. For example, the Ohio DOT reported that: ing directors and members on the synthesis project committee, a survey distributed to the training directors of all 50 states, dis- All division, office, and individual employee annual work plans cussions with a various training directors and their staffs, and are derived from the goals of the agency business plan. All bud- in-depth conversations and the experiences shared with partic- get requests must be justified and all justifications are based on business plan and work plan goals. Likewise, all performance ipants at the 2005 National Transportation Training Directors evaluations rate employees on completion of work plan items. Conference held in August 2005. The topics in this chapter The agency also continuously monitors and rates itself accord- include strategic planning; training needs assessment; critical ing to Organizational Performance Indices (OPI). OPI are a needs assessment; organization structure; delivery mecha- quantitative measure of agency performance and are tied directly to the agency business plan. nisms; funding sources and methods; training evaluation; pro- fessional certification; partnerships, opportunities, challenges, At the Training Directors Conference, the Mississippi and and constraints; and sharing and integrating information. Washington State DOTs presented their succession planning programs. Both programs have a rigorous selection process Sixteen states (32%) responded to the questionnaire, thus and a learning process that combines academic and experi- providing a snapshot of what is the current state of infrastruc- ential learning. Equally important, the programs have the ture for state DOT training programs. Complete results from active support and participation of key political and career the questionnaire are found in Appendix A. Discussions with executives, including sufficient funding. training directors and other members of the Synthesis Topic Panel, as well as the in-depth discussions and the information shared at the 2005 National Transportation Training Directors Case Study: Mississippi DOT's LEAD Program Conference enrich the questionnaire results. Mississippi's state DOT began its succession planning efforts in 2000 with a review of the workforce. The results showed that by STRATEGIC PLANNING 2006, 64% of the Mississippi DOT's (MDOT's) managers would be retirement eligible. To address this issue, MDOT engaged the Strategic plans provide the anchor for 14 of the 16 respond- ongoing support of upper management and developed its LEADS ing states (see Figure 1). The most common timeframe for a program. The program's goal was "to provide a continuous pool