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CHAPTER 8 Conclusions and Recommendations 8.1 Conclusions This research project has produced a Toolkit that can be used by state DOT leadership, managers, and human resources staff "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 technical 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." While the original research plan envisioned development of a hyperlinked document as the major research product, one of the key conclusions of the initial phase of work was that a static guide would be quickly outdated. It was therefore decided to implement a prototype of a web-based tool that could be more easily updated over time. The research team also developed supporting information, including a list of resources state DOT managers, leaders, and human resources staff can use to address workforce challenges; a gap assessment of areas where there are insufficient resources to meet specific needs; and guides to the user and administration sites for the tool. Within the scope of this project, the research team explored the use of information technology as a means to address knowledge needs. They discovered that existing technology supported the development of a flexible, extensible tool to deliver important information about responding to workforce issues to the individuals with state DOTs who need it most. The web-based tool the team developed connects users to a diverse set of resources that may be helpful to DOTs seeking to address workforce challenges. The tool consists of multiple views that provide different ways of accessing relevant resources. Search results include documented methodologies, survey instruments, case studies, organizational models, and software applications. This diversity is intended to enforce problem solving in an integrated way to take advantage of synergistic effects. This prototype Workforce Toolkit, which has been enthusiastically received, serves as a proof of concept to show how enabling information technology can be to aiding state DOTs in responding to workforce challenges. 61