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22 13% institutions that provide training for the state DOTs. The Washington State DOT's (WSDOT's) training management Yes system has a function that allows for a monthly update of the needs assessment based on input from student evaluations, No from a panel of experts, and the agency training staff. The Texas DOT (TxDOT) has a two-part annual assessment--the 87% formal annual solicitation supplemented by a mid-year FIGURE 1 Percentage of state DOTs with strategic plans. review "to identify and schedule immediate critical needs training." Seven of the agencies responding stated that the training needs were linked in some way with identified of potential leaders prepared to face the leadership challenges of mission-critical competencies, thereby providing a basis for today and tomorrow by assessing participants' leadership com- prioritizing training needs. The linkage between the results petencies and providing training that enhances and develops of the training needs assessment and funding requests was these competencies." Those selected participate in an 1824 weaker than the linkage to mission-critical competencies. month experience, which includes individual assessment (360 This may be an area that state DOTs want to consider giving degree assessment, career counseling, Myers Briggs), feedback delivered by professional external coaches, experiential learning, some additional attention. Those states that do make some structured access to senior management, team projects and pre- linkage include Arizona, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and sentations, Individual Accelerated Development Plans, in-depth Washington. presentation skills course, networking opportunities, formal men- toring, and exposure to the work of all divisions within MDOT. The The survey results were validated through discussions at LEADS program has become a model for other state agencies in Mississippi and in 2005 the National Association of Government the Training Directors conference and additional discussions Training and Development selected the LEADS program for its with Synthesis committee members. Training needs assess- prestigious "Program of the Year" award. ment is an integrated component of most state DOT training programs. Strategic plans or similar documents are in place in state DOTs and appear to be an important management tool for determining agency priorities. The training function is linked to the strategic Case Study: Washington State DOT's Automated plan in a majority of agencies and is used as a point of departure Training Management System (ATMS) for workforce development programs and activities. The missing ingredient for most agencies is a succession planning process. WSDOT's training program "is intended to enhance the attain- This result is consistent with that seen in the literature review. ment of department goals and objectives through appropriately However, as the discussions at the Training Directors Conference trained and informed employees. . . ATMS is a resource devel- made clear, many more state DOTs are beginning to think about oped to assist anyone in WSDOT who manages training, as well succession planning as a tool to help mitigate the impact of an as the employees who require and receive training . . ." ATMS is aging workforce. a mainframe application in use in WSDOT since the early 1990s. Its five primary functions are: identify needs, schedule courses and classes, register employees and selected non-WSDOT TRAINING NEEDS ASSESSMENT employees, provide reports, and confirm classes. The system is used by managers, employees, and the training development Fourteen of the 16 responding agencies, or more than 87%, staff. However, for the purposes of this study, its most intriguing feature is that it is constructed to provide continuous feedback conduct some type of training needs assessment (see Figure 2). on training needs and priorities. As described by WSDOT's train- Of those who do, 50% do the assessment annually. ing director: "WSDOT has a mainframe training management system that functions on a series of curriculum matrices that The states use a variety of methods to assess training contain the recommended training determined by a panel of needs, but all have as part of the process some way of con- experts in each of our 13 curriculum areas. The system keeps track of how many employees have completed training, accord- sulting with supervisory staff, employees, and other impor- ing to priority. The training staff reviews reports of the number of tant internal stakeholders. Forty-four percent also have some employees who have completed training. In general, our needs form of consultation with external stakeholders. These stake- assessment procedures are automated. Training staff coordi- holders, as might be expected, are primarily consultants and nates with the principal discipline leaders throughout the depart- ment to anticipate and document new and continuing needs." 13% CRITICAL NEEDS ASSESSMENT Yes No As might be anticipated, the majority of those responding to the questionnaire, as well as those whose views were elicited through interviews, cited engineers, engineering 87% technicians, and maintenance staff as the most important FIGURE 2 Percentage of respondents that conduct training occupations. Of those who did not identify these occupa- needs assessments. tions, one cited the agency leaders and another that "all