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3 CHAPTER ONE CHALLENGE OF MAINTAINING A KNOWLEDGEABLE WORKFORCE Organizations are a human enterprise and their highest purpose management approaches must accommodate the virtual is to make the strengths of people effective and their weaknesses workforce. irrelevant. Peter Drucker Workforce mobility--Increased competition and the move toward self-managed retirement funds (particu- larly with a highly educated workforce) will threaten the INTRODUCTION financial ties that employees have with their employers. Recruitment strategies must be adapted to the appropri- American public service is in its third era of reform, and public ate candidate pools. service at all levels of government--state, local, and federal-- Globalization--Business, production, economies, and is in the midst of profound change. From the founding of the workforces are becoming more multinational. As a republic until the late 1880s, government human resources result, managers (and organizations) confront increasing policies were based on the spoils system. Those in power got to demands to compete, retain, and manage talent well. choose those who were employed, regardless of talent or capa- bility. The spoils system worked initially, but then faltered. Other factors that affect the workforce and the workplace are: Because government services were not being done as U.S. cit- izens wanted, there was a demand for change. This resulted in Redefinition of government functions--Since the late a reform movement that ushered in the concept of a merit-based 1970s the division of functions between government and civil service. Recruitment and retention of employees was private-sector organizations has been changing, intro- based on qualifications and the ability to pass written and oral ducing a level of contracting out of services heretofore examinations. This system worked well for nearly a century, unseen in state, local, and federal levels of government. and then it too became obsolete. Driven primarily by the intro- Employees as an asset--One of the most important duction of technology into every level of society, the work to results of all of the reexamination of work and how it be done and the ways to accomplish work began to change should be accomplished is that employees are now rec- dramatically. Once again, U.S. citizens began to demand a dif- ognized as an asset. An asset is commonly defined as a ferent type and level of service from all levels of government. "thing, person, or quality of value" and worth further It is against this dynamic background that this synthesis-- investment to preserve or enhance the value. This fun- examining the requirements for managing training programs damental change in thinking has profound implications for state departments of transportation (DOTs) in the first quar- for training and development programs in both public ter of the 21st century--was prepared. and private organizations. Diversity--The workforce is becoming increasingly The trends dictating change are now clearly identified. In diverse, with women and minorities entering the work- its recently completed multiyear, five-volume study of the force in record numbers. "21st Century Manager," the National Academy of Public Retirement of the "Baby Boomers"--The largest gen- Administration (NAPA) noted the following trends affecting erational labor pool the United States has ever had is both the workplace and the workforce (The 21st Century approaching retirement. Within 15 years most of this Manager 2004): group will be either totally or partially out of the work- force. Technical complexity--Increasing technical complexity Shrinking labor supply--Similar to many other nations in in the workplace is driving the need for educated talent, the developed world, the U.S. birth rate is falling, result- particularly scientific, engineering, and information tech- ing in slower growth in current and future labor pools. nology (IT) personnel. Multigenerational workforce--For the first time in U.S. Information technology--Expanding IT capabilities history, public and private organizations have four or are affecting hardware systems, work processes, and more generations of workers in the workforce. Although the types and numbers of people in the workforce. these workers share some common characteristics, there Workforce flexibility--IT is providing unprecedented are also substantial differences in values, work experi- workplace flexibilities, such as telecommuting, facili- ence, work habits, and expectations between and among tating a more efficient workforce distribution. People the different generations.