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CHAPTER 1 Introduction 1.1 Research Objectives The objective of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 20-72 was to "produce a guide to selection and application of practical management tools that state DOT leadership, managers, and HR staff can use to address workforce challenges in the following areas: Characterizing and assessing core competencies of the agency's personnel, which are likely to be influenced by changing demographics, staff turnover, attrition, and competition from other employers. Characterizing and assessing the need to preserve institutional history and other mission-critical knowledge held by current personnel. Recruiting diverse staff to ensure needed competencies are in place to meet future demands. Educating, training, and developing staff to attain needed competencies, institutional history, and other mission-critical knowledge. Succession planning to ensure availability of highly competent and qualified personnel to fill key management and leadership roles at all levels of the organization. Retaining staff to maintain productivity. Ensuring an adequate and diverse supply of qualified entry-level personnel to meet mission- critical requirements in the future." The research objective recognized the wide range of goals and activities that are necessary for successful workforce management. It also recognized the existence of numerous useful manage- ment methodologies and resources available in the marketplace and the need for a practical guide for DOTs to match available resources to specific needs. The recent research projects that have explored these issues address a variety of strategies for recruitment, retention, succession planning, training, and change management. In addition to research reports available from the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), there are web sites for peer exchange of information related to work- force challenges, resources available from organizations outside of the transportation sector on techniques to improve government agency management, and a wide range of methodologies and tools developed by private companies. However, there is no integrated tool available to state DOTs for matching workforce-related needs to available and appropriate resources. Because a static guide would quickly become outdated, the research team elected to fulfill this objective by building a Web-based resource that DOT managers can easily use to meet workforce challenges. Specific challenges involved (1) targeting the content of the toolkit to the needs that DOT managers are (and will be) facing and (2) organizing the toolkit so that users can easily find relevant resources and determine applicability of a given resource to their particular situation. 5