Cover Image

Not for Sale

View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 55

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement

Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 54
The major sections and specific categories included in the action plans were designed to provide users with all the information needed to successfully implement the recommendations proposed. 4.4 RECOMMENDATIONS AND STRATEGIC ACTION PLANS FOR EACH SOM CAREER STAGE In this section, eight strategic SOM workforce recommendations are presented. The recommendations are designed to provide transportation agencies with strategies and resources to meet their needs for SOM staff. The recommendations will allow agencies to expand the pool of workers with SOM expertise by reaching out to students at all levels who are preparing to enter the workforce, to older workers seeking to extend their careers past traditional retirement ages, and to workers of all ages seeking to change their career paths. To make optimal use of this report, an agency's Human Resource (HR) director should thoroughly evaluate the current and projected SOM workforce needs they have with respect to the external labor market and then map those needs to the "Primary Human Resource Focus" for the recommendations that have "Agency" identified as the "Source of Initiation." It is suggested that HR directors initiate the majority of these recommendations due to their unique expertise and training in personnel management. However, in some cases the recommendations indicate that SOM managers could be appropriate to serve as the action lead when an HR director is either not available or the director requires additional support, or the manager may have unique knowledge about the specific workforce challenge and he/she desires to initiate changes at a divisional level and drive them up to the greater agency level. It would be optimal if the industry- level recommendation were initiated by a national association as indicated because it requires an orchestrated effort across numerous agencies. For each of the eight recommendations included in the report, a comprehensive action plan was created. Exhibit 28 defines each of the recommendations and identifies relevant career stages. Please note that the recommendation titles are hyperlinked to their respective action plan. 54

OCR for page 54
Exhibit 28 Overview of Strategic SOM Workforce Recommendations by Career Stage Target SOM Workforce Recommendation Career Stage 1. Implement Annual or Semi-Annual SOM Career Days. The K-12 target career K-12 stage is broken into two age groups so that agencies can create programs and materials that are tailored to better match how the age groups become interested and learn about SOM. The first age group includes students in grades K-8, while high school students are the second age group targeted. Community Colleges In order to expose elementary and middle school students to the SOM-related fields in the transportation industry, agencies could partner with after school programs to create a 3- to 5-day program that explores different components of SOM. Part of Four-Year this learning program could include classroom time where students have the Colleges opportunity to learn about the transportation industry from a variety of sources (e.g., books, movies, video games), with the goal of piquing the students' interest. An emphasis on safety issues should be included in the materials. The second part of Graduate the learning program could include a field trip to the local transportation agency, Schools which would allow students to see how the concepts they learned are applied in everyday work. Students could try the equipment onsite and experience an SOM job. Entry-Level Staff In order to expose high school students to the SOM-related fields in the transportation industry, agencies could reach out to vocational technical schools and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) schools about Mid-Career developing an SOM Career Day. Students enrolled in these types of schools are Staff taught the skills they need to succeed in today's challenging world. Many of these skills and abilities are sought after for positions within SOM, including the ability to think critically, solve complex problems, and drive advancements in technology. In addition, these types of schools are more flexible in designating a couple of hours or Senior Leaders even a day for guests to speak to students about their careers. This opportunity gives employees at DOTs and operation agencies a chance to connect with a young audience and share experiences from their job at a time when these students are expanding their interests and beginning to think about which careers take advantage Retirees of their skill sets. SOM employees are able to answer questions and provide detailed examples of their daily work activities and projects. 55

OCR for page 54
Exhibit 28 (Continued) Overview of Strategic SOM Workforce Recommendations by Career Stage Target SOM Workforce Recommendation Career Stage K-12 2. Develop SOM Curriculum Content for Related Higher Education Courses Community and Training Programs. Associations (AASHTO, ACEC, ASCE, etc.), university Colleges transportation centers (UTCs), and other stakeholder organizations should work Four-Year with higher education and training providers to develop curriculum content that can Colleges be added to existing courses and programs. Target providers might include Graduate community colleges, four-year colleges, Local Transportation Assistance Programs Schools (LTAPs), and the National Highway Institute. This process will help address the Entry-Level technical needs of the SOM discipline. In addition, since educators influence job Staff decisions (e.g., teachers and school counselors), SOM stakeholders should also Mid-Career consider ways to support students through grants for night school, scholarships for Staff degrees, and certification classes during off-peak times. Senior Leaders Retirees K-12 3. Implement Student-Worker Internship Program with a Job Rotational Community Component. Agencies should implement student-worker internship programs that Colleges allow for the option to rotate jobs. Such programs allow DOTs to target universities Four-Year with students in specific programs and offer them paid positions while in school at Colleges lower rates than typical employees. Rotational job programs provide students with the opportunity to work in more than one job over the course of their involvement in Graduate the program. This gives them the opportunity to experience different jobs, learn Schools about different functions, experience SOM-related duties from multiple Entry-Level perspectives, and work on a variety of different projects. Within each rotation, Staff students should be assigned a mentor who is responsible for supervising the student Mid-Career and serving as a point of contact for any issues that may arise. These programs are Staff attractive to students who are looking for real world experience as well as income, Senior Leaders and provide agencies with a means to have a presence on college campuses and develop a pipeline for talent. The job rotation component provides students with an opportunity to try different kinds of work, increasing the chances they will find a Retirees job they like at the agency and also increasing the chances they will stay if hired, given their previous exposure to the actual job duties. K-12 4. Implement Virtual Pre-Employment Realistic Job Preview. Agencies develop a Community virtual pre-employment realistic job preview (RJP) that interested candidates can Colleges complete before applying for a job or in the process of learning new skills. Such Four-Year tools are web-based and interactive, providing candidates with a candid preview of Colleges what the job entails by allowing them the opportunity to see what the job is like and Graduate participate in simulated job tasks. A virtual job preview can present various SOM- Schools related positions in a way candidates find interesting and impressive. The RJP is Entry-Level like a virtual day in the life of an SOM employee. Using an RJP, such as a video or Staff a virtual job tryout, can show potential employees work conditions or activities Mid-Career experienced on the job, which may encourage applicants to pursue a career within Staff the agency. An RJP can also help frame job expectations so that new employees are not surprised or potentially disappointed by unknown requirements experienced on Senior Leaders the job. Virtual presentations can be very high-tech, which can also help to attract Retirees potential applicants and bring new employees to the SOM field. 56

OCR for page 54
Exhibit 28 (Continued) Overview of Strategic SOM Workforce Recommendations by Career Stage Target SOM Workforce Recommendation Career Stage K-12 5. Institute Mentoring Program. In order to quickly develop and onboard entry-level Community staff or other employees new to the SOM field, mentoring programs (both formal Colleges and informal) are effective. Mentoring programs typically involve pairing someone Four-Year more junior with an individual in a similar field of work but who has more Colleges experience in the organization (e.g., 5+ years) and a successful performance record. Graduate Mentoring programs have also shown success for encouraging and engaging Schools minority workers by partnering the worker with someone who is more advanced in Entry-Level his/her career, who may share similar demographic characteristics and therefore Staff may have experienced certain challenges or perceived barriers the junior person Mid-Career may encounter during the early stages of his/her career. Staff Senior Leaders Retirees K-12 6. Develop Employees and Maintain Employee Career Pathways. DOTs should Community consider making in-house recruiting a priority to promote from within and ensure Colleges that growth opportunities are available to employees (KFH Group, Inc., 2008). Results of a recent study indicate that career pathways improve job satisfaction, Four-Year employee motivation, and employee commitment (Griffin, Kalnbach, Lantz, and Colleges Rodriguez, 2000). Furthermore, results from analyses of 21 turnover studies indicate Graduate that receiving promotions is directly related to less employee turnover (Carson et Schools al., 1994). To prepare employees for advancement, agencies need to implement Entry Level structured employee development practices. A career lattice demonstrates the Staff possible ways that a career can progress and the different jobs an employee might Mid-Career consider as his/her career develops. The pathway is usually represented as a diagram Staff showing the relationships between various roles in an industry and the possible Senior Leaders paths for moving between them, both linearly and laterally. A career pathway serves as a strategic planning tool as the employee identifies long-term goals for his/her Retirees professional life. 57

OCR for page 54
Exhibit 28 (Continued) Overview of Strategic SOM Workforce Recommendations by Career Stage Target SOM Workforce Recommendation Career Stage K-12 7. Implement SOM Succession Plans. Organizations could identify senior leader positions that will be vacated in the near future due to retirements, transfers, and other means of attrition. In order to fill these vacated positions, the organization Community could offer the opportunity for entry-level to mid-career employees to participate in Colleges training programs that focus on management and leadership issues. This type of training would help employees who are interested in becoming leaders of the Four-Year organization acquire the skills necessary for advancement and continued success. Colleges Employees with strong performance records, who demonstrate both the skills to Graduate succeed at the senior level and interest in a future leadership position, may then be Schools matched with a senior leader who serves as a mentor. Mentoring and on-the-job training is particularly important when filling senior leadership positions because Entry-Level many of the incumbents have long tenures and there is a need to have them pass on Staff the industry and agency knowledge they have accumulated over the years, before they retire. In addition to the type of knowledge transfer that comes from Mid-Career mentoring, agencies could create people-focused knowledge management systems Staff that promote knowledge sharing among employees. One possible technique to capture this critical knowledge involves staff working in HR departments Senior Leaders interviewing senior leaders about their position and work functions. This includes collecting information on the cognitive processes that may go into making decisions as well as the rationale behind specific procedures and task performance. These Retirees interviews will help ensure that institutional memory and expertise is not lost when senior staff retire. K-12 8. Recruit from Non-Traditional Sources. Create recruitment strategies that seek out candidates from non-traditional sources to build a deep and diverse applicant pool. Community Non-traditional applicants, such as retired military personnel, engineers from the Colleges public sector, stay-at-home parents, minority group members, ex-prisoners, retirees, and/or DOT employees from other agencies could prove to be an excellent source Four-Year for talent. These applicants often have a wealth of knowledge and a desire to return Colleges to the workforce in some fashion. In fact, some unemployed individuals may be stay-at-home parents who left work because they did not want a full-time job Graduate commitment or older individuals, not yet of retirement age, who went through a Schools company downsizing and have difficulty finding subsequent work. Additionally, Entry-Level some retirees include individuals who leave their jobs due to early buy-outs or Staff government pension plans but still prefer to be working. Knowing what prompted candidates to initially leave the workforce can inform recruitment and offer Mid-Career solutions or arrangements that work for non-traditional employees who might be Staff brought in part-time or benefit from flexible work arrangements. DOTs should consider how to leverage the experience and expertise of non-traditional applicants Senior Leaders while keeping in mind that they might not want to maintain a traditional work schedule. When considering non-traditional sources, it is important to note that retired military personnel often show exemplary leadership skills based on the Retirees discipline and training they gained in the military. 58