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Task 1: Conduct Literature Review, Engage Leadership, and Determine SOM Staffing Estimates Task 1 involved four major subcomponents. First, the research team built on the preliminary literature review by further investigating the results of NCHRP Project 20-77 and other current materials to more clearly understand the workforce trends impacting SOM occupations. Second, we engaged transportation leadership across the United States to describe current and anticipated future SOM employment needs and the technical knowledge requirements for SOM careers. Third, we reviewed U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of Transportation (DOT) information to determine if SOM staff positions are adequately addressed in employment statistics. This involved developing estimates of national and regional (e.g., by state) needs for SOM staff, for the years 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2020. Finally, we determined whether staffing needs represent new employment or reclassification of existing positions. Each of these four subtasks is described in this section. Subtask 1.1--Conducting the Literature Review. To fully understand SOM occupations, our team conducted a literature review to identify and assemble information from United States and international published research, technical reports, conference presentations, and case studies on SOM employment trends. An overview of the documents we reviewed is provided in Exhibit 1. Exhibit 1 Literature Review Sources Previous TRB projects including the following ICF's Transportation Recruitment, Development and NCHRP Projects: 20-77, Transportation Operations Retention Practices Database, which extensively Training Framework; 20-24(40), Analysis and cataloged over 150 `Best-Practice' recruitment, Benchmarking of State DOT Recruitment and Hiring development, and retention programs for NCHRP Practices; 20-24(48), Analysis and Benchmarking of (created for NCHRP Project 20-81). State DOT Human Resource Activities; 20-24(50), In- Service Training Needs for State DOTs; 20-72, Tools to Database of Best Practices in Recruitment and Aid State DOTs in Responding to Workforce Workforce Management of DOT Contractors Challenges; and TRB Special Report 275: The identified during a project for the Florida Department of Workforce Challenge. Transportation. ICF's Related Industry and Private Sector Professional Human Resources (HR) organizations, Benchmarking Database that includes data ICF has which provide publications and published surveys by collected on recruitment and retention practices during organizations with specific expertise in recruitment, similar studies with Fortune 500 companies, related retention, and workforce development issues such as the federal and state agencies, and local and national Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the member associations. Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychologists (SIOP), the International Public Management Surveys and research conducted by AASHTO, Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), and the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at (AMPO), International City/County Management Rutgers University. Association (ICMA), and state leagues of municipalities. Technical reports and relevant studies conducted by NCHRP Research Results Digest 327: Transportation private- and public-sector organizations such as the Implications of Emerging Economic Development Department of Defense, the Department of Education, Trends, published by the Transportation Research Board Federal Transit Administration, and other federal in August 2008. agencies and state and local organizations. 2
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Exhibit 1 (Continued) Literature Review Sources Journals devoted to applied problems in Position description and skills databases, such as the organizations, such as Personnel Psychology, Academy Occupational Information Network (O*NET) and the of Management Journal, Public Personnel Management, National Transportation Training Resource. Journal of Applied Psychology, and Journal of Organizational Behavior. Industry journals, such as Transportation and Transportation Quarterly. The primary outcome of the Task 1 literature review was to establish a preliminary definition of past, current, and future SOM employment trends. This understanding informed subsequent project activities. Subtask 1.2--Interviewing Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). To further develop an understanding of the SOM workforce, specifically concerning the current and anticipated future SOM employment needs and the technical knowledge requirements for SOM careers, our team conducted interviews with a representative group of SOM subject matter experts (SMEs). These SMEs had at least 5 years' experience in various SOM careers and were identified through their involvement in one of the following: NCHRP Project Panel 20-86, AASHTO Highway Subcommittee on Systems Operation and Management, and/or NCHRP Project Panel 20-77. SMEs were also selected across diverse and geographically dispersed transportation agencies that further varied in size and community distinction (such as urban versus rural). All experts participated in a 1- to 2-hour telephone interview to discuss opportunities and obstacles they saw in careers in the SOM field. Using the preliminary literature review findings, we developed a protocol comprised of open-ended questions and probes that allowed for investigation of the factors that facilitate and challenge career growth, as well as the specific career paths that incumbents have followed to pursue an SOM career. For example, the protocol included questions regarding the types of jobs, work responsibilities, education, and training which helped SMEs progress toward their current SOM career. In total, we interviewed 24 SOM experts. Exhibit 2 provides the positions and represented agencies of the SOM experts who participated in these interviews. Exhibit 2 SOM Interview Participants Position Title Representative Agency Program Manager for Transportation Engineering AASHTO Operations Transportation Staff Consultant Bergmann Associates Deputy District Director of Operations California DOT Chief, Division of Research and Innovation California DOT ITS Branch Director Colorado DOT TMC Operations Manager Delaware DOT Systems Preservation Engineer FHA Assistant Chief Engineer (Operations) Idaho DOT Branch Manager for System Operations Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Director of Transportation Maine DOT 3
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Exhibit 2 (Continued) SOM Interview Participants Position Title Representative Agency Deputy Director, Office of Highway Development Maryland State Highway Administration Chief, Recruitment and Examination Division Maryland State Highway Administration Director of ITS Programs Massachusetts DOT Systems Operations and Management Engineer Michigan DOT Director of System Management Missouri DOT Deputy Director/Chief Engineer Nevada DOT Executive Director, Statewide Traffic Operations New Jersey DOT Manager of ITS Operations New Mexico DOT Special Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer New York State DOT Director for Systems Operations, Office of Traffic New York State DOT Safety and Mobility Director, Workforce Development Appalachian Transportation Institute State Traffic Engineer, Transportation Mobility and North Carolina DOT Safety Operations Director Utah DOT Chief of Operations Virginia DOT Subtask 1.3--Determining SOM Staffing Estimates. To generate staffing estimates for SOM occupations, our team mapped SOM-related work functions to standardized occupational codes (SOCs or O*NET-SOC Code) developed by the Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor (DOL). This mapping exercise allowed our team to identify DOL standard occupations that include the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) characteristic of SOM occupations. KSAs are often designated as mandatory or desirable and are defined in the following manner: Knowledge statements refer to an organized body of information usually of a factual or procedural nature which, if applied, makes adequate performance on the job possible. A body of information is applied directly to the performance of a function. Skill statements refer to the proficient manual, verbal, or mental manipulation of data or things. Skills can be readily measured by a performance test or proficient manipulation of things where quantity and quality of performance are tested, usually within an established time limit. Ability statements refer to the power to perform an observable activity at the present time. This means that abilities have been evidenced through activities or behaviors that are similar to those required on the job. Next, our team generated and analyzed current and future occupational estimates for SOM occupations through the use of SOC codes. We conducted this analysis at the national, regional (i.e., Northeast, South, Midwest, and West), and state levels. Our historical estimates provide information on the change in SOM-related occupations during the time period between 2005 and 2010. Our future occupational reports provide information on projected changes for SOM-related occupations between 2010 and 2015, as well as 2010 and 2020. 4