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SUMMARY Tools to Aid State DOTs in Responding to Workforce Challenges State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) face a number of workforce-related challenges that significantly impact their ability to deliver services in an efficient and effective manner. As experienced employees retire and resources tighten, DOTs need to become more strategic about workforce planning and pursue new approaches to recruitment, succession planning, training, and organizational restructuring. Several NCHRP projects have been conducted over the past few years on topics related to workforce management at DOTs, and there is a wealth of other relevant information resources available--case studies, methodologies, guides, software applications--that agencies can draw upon. These existing resources can help DOTs understand how their peers are addressing similar issues, discover successful practices, and provide models that may be adapted for a fraction of the cost of what would have been required to design and develop a new program or initiative. However, DOTs are not necessarily aware of what resources exist and may not be able to easily identify information resources that would be helpful to them. The objective of NCHRP Project 20-72 is to articulate key current and emerging DOT workforce needs and link these needs to available resources. In the initial phase of the project, the research team reviewed and assessed current litera- ture, web sites, and practices to identify resources of relevance and value in addressing DOT workforce challenges and developed an organizing framework for the information. In the final phase, a prototype web site was developed that provides access to relevant information resources. Phase I included the following activities: · Review of literature and practice to identify resources most useful in addressing DOT workforce challenges. · Assessment of the adequacy and value of existing resources to addressing DOT workforce challenges. This task included a gap assessment of resources available for responding to current and emerging workforce challenges. · Development of an organizing framework for providing access to relevant information resources. In Phase II, a prototype web site called the "Workforce Toolkit" was developed. Several requirements were identified for the workforce toolkit. · First, the information resources in the toolkit would need to be dynamic rather than static, i.e., there would need to be a mechanism to add new resources as they became available and eliminate old resources that were no longer relevant. · Second, the toolkit should accommodate a diverse set of workforce-related topics to meet the needs of multiple agencies, each with their own workforce challenges and business processes. 1
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2 Tools to Aid State DOTs in Responding to Workforce Challenges · Third, the Toolkit should be useable by different types of users with varying information needs and search styles. These requirements led to the development of a flexible and extensible tool for information access. The framework developed in Phase I defined the scope of resources to be included in the Toolkit and established and defined categories to be used to match infor- mation resources to workforce needs faced by state DOTs. Categories were further defined by type of resource and audience for the resource. The framework has been designed so that this set of categories can be adapted over time. As the Toolkit evolves, new resources, search views, and search parameters can be added. The Toolkit currently offers the following views: · Top Ten DOT Workforce Needs--links the most common workforce needs to resources that address those needs. · Frequently Asked Questions--links questions that DOT managers might ask to resources to answer those questions (i.e., the number one FAQ currently may be related to reduction in force). · Functional View of Workforce Needs--links a hierarchical list of DOT human resources functions to relevant resources and provides definitions of each function. · Faceted Search for Workforce Resources--allows users to search resources based on individually selected parameters within need type, audience, source, DOT role, and resource type. · Geographic View--allows state DOT personnel to locate information from peer agencies. · Text Search--allows users to enter search keywords. · State Practices--links to tables generated from recently completed NCHRP projects that include workforce-related surveys of state DOTs. It provides state DOT personnel a snapshot view of peer agency practices. · Forum--links to the FHWA web site and can be used to provide additional views containing information on workforce-related conferences, discussion forums on specific topics of interest, performance benchmarking, etc. This link is included to suggest that a forum can be established for the community of professionals interested in state DOT workforce issues. · Video--links to the AASHTO YouTube site. This link is included to suggest that videos are a type of resource that can be captured and made accessible to the Toolkit users. The second phase of the project also included development of a Workforce Toolkit Adminis- tration site to be used to add, delete, or edit resources for the public Workforce Toolkit site. The research team anticipates that AASHTO will be the steward of the Toolkit after the completion of this project and will be responsible for the administration of the site. This report concludes with recommendations for continuing the work begun in NCHRP Project 20-72. The recommendations include suggestions for converting the working prototype of the Workforce Toolkit to a full-scale version with enhanced capabilities.