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30 Strategies to Attract and Retain a Capable Transportation Workforce or management jobs). These individuals are in demand among several industries, most of which can offer higher wages than the transportation industry. In addition to skilled workers, organizations are struggling to find individuals who are in the middle of their careers (i.e., 5-15 years) because they tend to refrain from moving positions. These middle-career individuals are in demand because they are a low risk for initial turnover unlike younger workers who choose a position and then may quickly decide they do not like it. Individuals in the middle of their careers are also a low risk for retirement unlike older workers. Typically, these workers have families and obligations that force them to maintain steady employment. Another challenge that often occurs, when hiring managers for transportation jobs, is balancing the need for technical knowledge of the organization with the need for leadership and managerial skills. Participants noted that there is often a gap between the technical abilities and the "people" skills that applicants possess when applying for managerial positions. For instance, one participant said, "The challenge is finding cross-functionally trained leaders with an understanding of how to manage different functions. Managers are, at times, put in place because of their technical skills, not managerial people skills." Transportation Issues. The geographic location of the work poses a recruitment challenge for some of our participants. Requiring employees to use personal transportation or make a significant commute deters many applicants from accepting a job offer. This might occur because some applicants, especially in urban areas, do not have personal transportation. 4.2 Industry Strategies. Researchers and program managers identify the following programmatic strategies when describing industry efforts to "Increase the Number of Applicants" (see Exhibit 4-2). While these strategies represent the general direction of human resource (HR) departments across the nation, it is important that the specific needs of your agency are used to guide the development and implementation of a program in your agency. Exhibit 4-2 Industry Strategies: Increasing the Number of Applicants Strategy Strategy Description Expand the Recruiting Organizations are posting job opportunities in trade magazines such as Horizon Construction and Better Roads magazines, on outdoor billboard advertisements, in flyers at unemployment offices, and on posters placed in convenience stores. The idea is to target an audience, determine where that audience can typically be found, and advertise job opportunities at these locations. If an organization is looking for an unemployed road construction worker who likes being outdoors and does not expect above-average compensation, the recommendations mentioned above are applicable. Advertising on the radio has also been found to be effective. Another place where active and passive job seekers can be found is on the Internet. To attract active job seekers, some organizations have replaced basic job search websites with more advanced job aggregator websites to upload their job postings. Job aggregator websites collect job postings from other websites and aggregate them into one database. Job aggregators often include jobs from big-name job search websites (e.g.,, as well as jobs from employer websites. Examples of job aggregators include:,, and which are specifically geared toward upper-level managers and executives. For

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Increasing the Number of Applicants 31 Exhibit 4-2 (Continued) Industry Strategies: Increasing the Number of Applicants Strategy Strategy Description passive job seekers, organizations develop advertisements to be placed on websites, such as Google,, and Host Career Days The construction industry has begun hosting Construction Career Days across the country. These career days give students the opportunity to learn about construction jobs, become inspired to use as well as learn how to operate specific construction equipment (e.g., backhoes, excavators, jackhammers, pavers), learn about challenges of the job, and receive information on colleges, trade schools, and certification programs that serve the construction industry. Implement Employee Organizations feel that some of their best performers come from employee Referral Programs referrals. These organizations have instituted pay bonuses for the referring employee whose referral was hired and stayed employed longer than 6 months. Current employees will be more likely to refer people to jobs if they have a financial incentive. The 6 month cut-off is set because this is generally where organizations see turnover percentages decrease so at this point there is a higher chance that the organization will see a return-on-investment from the hire. Employee referrals are also beneficial because they reduce some costs for recruiters who are often seeking new employees from cold calling or large expensive events. Furthermore, incumbents can identify effective matches for jobs because they typically have more direct knowledge of the job requirements than external recruiters who do not perform the job on a daily basis. Tailor Advertising Our findings suggested that organizations have begun to tailor their job Efforts advertisements to fit the fast-paced, short attention span of the typical job seeker. They are now using brief descriptions or "snap-shots" to quickly highlight the industry, major tasks, and positive aspects of the job. This has proven to be an effective tactic as organizations have found that potential job seekers, typically looking at hundreds of job advertisements at a time, are more likely to read shorter advertisements than longer ones. When developing these snapshots for hard-to-fill positions (e.g., maintenance, engineers), organizations have conducted research on factors that attract and retain individuals who typically fill those positions. Universities and private consultants are sometimes brought in to conduct this research. Some organizations are even obtaining lists from the state of individuals who have recently received a license that is required for a hard-to-fill position and sending those individuals information about job opportunities. Consider Non- A number of DOTs have begun to explicitly target non-traditional hires to Traditional Hires expand the thinking of current agency staff and better prepare the agency for the challenges of the 21st century. Minorities, lower-income people, and people with disabilities are recruitment targets in Minnesota and elsewhere. Retirees, re-hires, ex-offenders, and even candidates from other industries can also be effective sources for recruitment. In addition, employees from other industries may have the basic skills sets to quickly learn the requirements of the job; the latter are a particularly practical source in finance and other fields in the DOT with a smaller "bench." Thus, agencies have begun to recognize the value of hiring individuals previously unconsidered.

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32 Strategies to Attract and Retain a Capable Transportation Workforce Exhibit 4-2 (Continued) Industry Strategies: Increasing the Number of Applicants Strategy Strategy Description Advertise in Foreign Organizations are creating advertisements in non-English languages, foreign Languages languages commonly used in their communities, in an attempt to attract alternate populations. They have had success placing these advertisements in post offices, banks, and other community locations where non-English speakers may often visit. One association mentioned that contractors send bilingual recruiters door-to-door in historically minority-populated neighborhoods to talk to families about the benefits of starting a career in transportation. When organizations interview these applicants, the organizations advertise the fact that they use bilingual manuals, instructions, and safety signs. Organizations that provide multi-language resources are better able to convey a culturally diverse work environment. Some contractors reported establishing demographic recruiting goals that exceed those mandated by the government. Partner with Source A source organization is an entity with which potential applicants are heavily Organizations to involved whether it is through education, enlistment, membership, or Increase Numbers incarceration. Organizations have found partnerships with elementary and middle schools to also be advantageous for their efforts at increasing industry interest among youth. Research shows that image formation, career exploration, and job interests start at a very early age, and exposure to careers in childhood inculcates interest to pursue that field later in life. Engineering is Elementary offers resources for introducing engineering early. In addition to schools, organizations work with foster care programs to provide careers for youth in foster care settings. Organizations also partner with local youth development and agricultural groups like 4-H. The type of work conducted in transportation jobs may appeal more to youth already involved with hands-on tasks via club activities. Government organizations may provide recognition and incentives to companies for training and employing these youth. Another place to target young people who enjoy working outdoors and with their hands is at technical schools. Many organizations are setting up reoccurring meetings with technical schools to exchange information about the skills the schools are teaching relative to the skills that are needed by the organization. Establishing these partnerships allows organizations to identify and recruit the top talent. Mechanics, welders, and technical operators have been successfully hired based on partnerships with trade and technical schools. Organizations have had success partnering with local universities to determine how many students, typically in engineering fields, will be graduating and the type of opportunities and work environments these students are seeking. The advantage of working with professors from universities is that they are typically better in tune with their students' expectations in terms of compensation, work schedule, and work environment. Organizations also participate in on-campus recruitment and career fairs for high school and college students. While colleges are heavily represented in high school career fairs, transportation organizations tend to only attend specialized trade fairs or college career fairs. Increasing representation in high school career fairs has

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Increasing the Number of Applicants 33 Exhibit 4-2 (Continued) Industry Strategies: Increasing the Number of Applicants Strategy Strategy Description the potential to greatly assist recruitment efforts. To attract middle-career applicants, some organizations partner with Transition Assistance Programs (TAP) that help honorably discharged military personnel join the workforce. Organizations are invited to provide instruction to soldiers in how to develop a resume, fill out applications, and respond to interview questions. In addition to providing instruction, organizations work with TAP to interview and recruit these individuals. One organization in our study partnered with a selection firm to select high-potential candidates coming out of the military. In addition, this organization works with West Point to attract its graduates. In addition to transition assistance, organizations also partner with agencies providing job re-entry programs for former offenders in order to find workers with significant job experience. Potential recruits may be experienced in physical and outdoor labor, and by forming partnerships with Job Re-Entry agencies, the industry can better recruit disadvantaged, unskilled workers and also help support the community. In some states, the organizations may receive financial incentives from the government for using these programs. These financial incentives typically come from state workforce committees, which can be used to introduce organizations to source organizations (e.g., universities), as well as help them remove regulatory roadblocks in the hiring process. Integrate with Source In terms of short turn-around recruiting efforts, participating organizations Organizations have begun to use career fairs more strategically. For example, organizations have benefited from attending career fairs even when they do not have open positions, by forming long-standing relationships with quality talent. The organizations can provide information on how to keep in contact so that when job opportunities become available, career fair attendees can apply. Organizations have also started traveling to states or cities that are having economic or employment issues and offering applicants jobs if they are willing to relocate. Organizations are also looking for ways to offer telecommuting jobs to individuals who might be unwilling to move. Lastly, organizations are giving their hiring managers permission to make job offers during the actual career fair. Organizations have found that high-potential applicants are quickly recruited by competitors even if they were originally interested in the organization at the career fair. The ability to check resumes, interview, confer with colleagues, and make an offer allows the hiring manager to secure top talent early. One-stop career centers have also been effective. A one-stop career center is when several organizations in an industry, usually through an association, coordinate to co-fund a center where applicants apply, are trained, and then placed in a position at one of the organizations. Associations can set up offices around metropolitan areas that seek to streamline the process of getting a candidate from the application stage to the hiring decision stage. Applicants

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34 Strategies to Attract and Retain a Capable Transportation Workforce Exhibit 4-2 (Continued) Industry Strategies: Increasing the Number of Applicants Strategy Strategy Description typically sit at a computer kiosk and fill out electronic applications with help from an attendant. The ease of the application process makes it attractive to a wider population of job seekers. For long-term recruiting efforts, organizations allow schools to bring children and parents to work sites for field trips, give guest lectures at schools and write articles for the school newspaper. These initiatives are meant to educate students regarding the diversity of jobs within transportation. Students are engaged with activities that show them how their skill sets, in math for example, are integral to transportation jobs. The oil industry, which was experiencing similar workforce challenges, pulled together volunteers from many different oil-related career fields to create a traveling information task force to conduct all the initiatives previously mentioned. In addition to educating students, these initiatives provide a venue where organizations can encourage teachers, career counselors, and parents to champion transportation as a viable career for the students. They have discussions, provide pamphlets, and direct interested persons to organization websites. Some companies offer breakfast and lunch presentations during the summer where teachers are invited to come eat and learn about the benefits of transportation. Advertisements need to focus on convincing parents of the benefit of transportation jobs. For example, the U.S. Army has had a number of successful TV commercials that target parents and attempt to shape their opinion about their child's enlistment. Harness Technology To prepare managers for recruiting, organizations have developed pages on the organization's intranet to serve as a central repository for recruitment tips and tools. In addition, these pages allow for the sharing of lessons learned on how to effectively recruit new workers. To help recruiters and managers who are actively recruiting, organizations are purchasing software that allows for resume searches by skill. These software packages can also organize the resumes that come in from multiple job websites like Monster and JobFox. For job seekers, organizations have developed recruiting web pages on the organization's website. Applicants can learn more about the opportunities and benefits of a career in transportation as well as apply and submit their resume to all open transportation job opportunities. One feature of the website is that it allows candidates to apply at one time for all the positions for which they qualify by using the shopping cart application. Organizations have found that this technique creates a larger pool of qualified candidates for contractors to review than separate applications systems which may deter candidates from applying to multiple jobs. For job seekers without personal computers, organizations utilize phone recruiting services that allow candidates to dial a number and describe their resume profile in their native language. Candidate profiles are recorded in a computer database that can be accessed by employers online. Additionally, employers can search an organized list of candidate profiles and contact the most qualified candidate directly. Organizations also provide geographic