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Action Plan for Recommendation #1 Implement Annual or Semi-Annual SOM Career Days Hyperlink to Exhibit 28: Overview of Strategic SOM Workforce Recommendations by Career Stage 61

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RECOMMENDATION #1 Implement Annual or Semi-Annual SOM Career Days Description: The K-12 target career stage is broken into two age groups so that agencies can create Recommendation Highlights programs and materials that are tailored to better Target Career Stage: K-12 match how the age groups become interested and Will help with Attraction and learn about SOM. The first age group includes Recruitment students in grades K-8, while high school students are Estimated Time to Implement: 03 the second age group targeted. months Exciting, hands-on approach to In order to expose elementary and middle school introduce students to SOM-related students to the SOM-related fields in the careers at a young age transportation industry, agencies could partner with Will increase understanding in the after school programs to create a 3- to 5-day program community of agency's services, that explores different components of SOM. Part of mission, and value to the region this learning program could include classroom time where students have the 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. It is critical that an emphasis on safety issues is included in the materials. The second part of the learning program could include a field trip to the local transportation agency, 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. 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 developing an SOM Career Day. Students enrolled in these types of schools are taught the skills they need to succeed in today's challenging world. Many of these skills and abilities are sought for in 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 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 of their skill sets. SOM employees are able to answer questions and provide detailed examples of their daily work activities and projects. Rationale for Recommendation: Our interviews with various SOM subject matter experts (SMEs) revealed that SOM job functions and tasks varied greatly among different DOTs depending on their size and resources. As a result, few understand what SOM jobs entail; interview participants indicated that there is ambiguity regarding what a DOT SOM position is and the duties of these jobs. With limited exposure to SOM and a lack of knowledge about its importance, students are less likely to pursue SOM-related careers, and qualified job candidates may not apply to SOM position openings that would otherwise be a good fit for their skill set and interests. In addition, our SOM interview participants indicated that by the junior or senior year of high school, students have begun to identify the subjects they enjoy studying and are already 62

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forming ideas about their career directions. As a result, these two targeted programs can be effective ways for DOT staff to introduce students to transportation careers at a young age, from the time they are just beginning to think about what they want to be when they grow up (Kindergarten), to the point when they are actually beginning to make decisions about their future career (late high school). The DOT and transportation recruiting initiatives receive benefit on a larger scale as well, with more awareness of the DOT's work in the community and potential transportation careers and special emphasis on the DOT's evolving role: maximizing the efficient use of our current transportation infrastructure through increasingly effective operations and management. RELEVANT POSITIONS 63

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TARGET AUDIENCES Source of Initiation Return on Investment Targeted Audience(s) Industry 0-2 years After School Program (K-8) Agency 3-5 years Primary: Program directors and 6+ years students Primary Human Resource Secondary: Parents for further Focus Estimated Time to reinforcement. Attraction Implement SOM Career Day (9-12) Recruitment 0-3 months Primary: Principals, teachers, Retention 3-6 months counselors, and students at high Development 7 months-1 year schools. More than 1 year Secondary: Parents for further Implementation Level reinforcement. National Action Lead(s) Components of both programs Regional Agency HR Director may also be applicable to State community colleges, four-year colleges, and graduate schools. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN Steps to Implement 1. Assemble Agency Project Team. Create team to lead program development and organization. 2. Identify and Network with Partners. Identify and network with either local after school programs or vocational technical/STEM schools and discuss the mutual benefits of developing a joint program for their students. 3. Hold Planning Meetings with Partners. Meet with after school program directors or school administrators to schedule an annual or semi-annual day for the career day to occur, and any standards/requirements. This meeting involves establishing expectations, event structure and organization (i.e., location for the event to occur, duration of the event, and schedule for the event), and discussing a plan for marketing and outreach. 4. Develop Marketing Materials. Develop marketing materials that provide an overview of the agency, including its mission and goals, with a specific focus on SOM. One month prior to the event, HR personnel send these materials to the after school program director or school administrator who then distributes to teachers. If partnering with a vocational technical/STEM school, ask teachers to inform students of the upcoming career day and have students prepare questions in advance to ask the employees who will be participating (i.e., 1 to 2 weeks prior). 64

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5. Recruit DOT Participants and Develop Content for After School SOM Learning Program/Career Day. Identify agency employees in SOM-related jobs at various levels and in different functions who are willing and skilled in sharing their work experiences. These employees can range from field technicians to call center employees, to project managers. HR personnel and other agency employees should collaborate to decide what types of equipment they want to bring with them to create a hands-on experience for the students. 6. SOM Employees Engage Students. SOM employees either attend the career day or visit the after school program in work clothes to provide a brief overview of the transportation industry, their experiences and accomplishments working for a state DOT, and any interesting stories about their careers in the DOT. These work experience stories could include visual supplements (i.e., interactive PowerPoint presentations, pictures, short videos). Before the event ends, employees should reserve 20 to 30 minutes to field any questions. Materials should also be developed that students can take home with them, like magazines, pencils, and stickers. 7. Follow-Up with Partner. A week after the program/career day, follow-up with the program director or school administrator and discuss the possibility of a class field trip to the agency. This field trip would provide students with the opportunity to apply the information they received during the career day to practice; students could tour the control room, see the traffic cameras, and observe the internal/external operations at the agency. COMMUNICATIONS PLAN Communication/Outreach Strategies Identify key information resources used by the target audiences (school principals, teachers and counselors, PTAs) to market the idea of including SOM-related careers in existing fairs. These resources can include: Trade associations (i.e., American School Counselor Association, Maryland Association of Secondary School Principals) Specific magazines and publications (i.e., Teacher Magazine, American Educator, School Counselors) Blogs/Websites Conferences Informal class presentations or "career days" may be initiated or conducted without these. Develop marketing materials to promote the SOM-related career fair to the primary target audiences through the identified information channels for the career days or fairs. Outreach may include web banners, articles for trade publications and magazines, and an email/announcement for bi-weekly e-newsletters. Develop materials such as a flyer to provide an overview of the agency, including its mission and goals, with a specific focus on SOM, in order to inform students and parents of the upcoming career day. Some schools will also include a brief write-up in the school's monthly bulletin to parents. 65

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Develop materials for the actual career fair or career day such as: Brochure to define SOM jobs and to promote the agency/industry in general, including its mission and goals, and career opportunities. Exciting video-vignette testimonials from employees describing the value of their daily jobs and the agency's work. Hands-on activities for students to experience what "a day in transportation operations and management" is like. Take-aways for the students like stickers, posters, backpacks, pins, with a message like "I will be a future engineer" or "Be cool, become a transportation operations technician." Process for Obtaining Buy-In Provide data that highlight the impact of being represented at a career fair, and tie them to specific strategic goals the agency has regarding recruitment and retention targets or cultivating community understanding of the DOT's work. Develop a list of other agencies in the region that have participated in school career days. Gather materials (data, pictures, videos) that show the impact and critical importance of systems operations and management jobs in the community. Identify media contacts (newspapers, radio, magazines) who cover education news and who would be interested in writing a story on the industry's/agency's efforts to educate kids and parents on reputable jobs and careers within the SOM field. 66

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USEFUL INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL RESOURCES To Implement Practice Ensure support from leaders at the industry level. Develop materials that can be brought to career days to show students about SOM-related jobs. If possible, provide them with the opportunity to touch and interact with SOM equipment or "tools of the trade." A hands-on experience is more memorable. Utilize current employees who are not only high performers, but are also passionate about their job and skilled at working with children and discussing their work experiences in an interesting and exciting way. Maintain data on which positions and anecdotes are most appealing to students, at different ages, so that participating employees can tailor their stories to engage students and attract them to a potential career in SOM. To Sustain Practice Ensure support from senior management and school administrators in order to continue to appear at the after school program or career day each year. Incorporate feedback from last year's after school program or career day into the upcoming program or career day by making additions where there is interest. This may include introducing students to new technology and letting them experiment with it, or something even simpler such as presenting a video before sharing experiences. Demonstrate that the agency's presence in an after school program or at a career day is providing a return on the investment. For example, the agency may calculate: awareness before and after participating at career days, increases in applications received from students looking for a summer job, increases in the number of high school students that continue their education at a trade school. EXAMPLES OF EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS DOT Construction Career Days. Construction career day events are workforce development tools that introduce high school students to the transportation construction industry and support the pipeline that will provide the professionals of tomorrow. It's a long-term investment, so future-oriented that some DOTs perceive it as akin to community service; however, the shows can have a memorable, lifelong effect on participants on both sides of the table. Construction career day events have successfully promoted the transportation construction industry and the careers it offers since highway agency staff first started to present in local schools. Since 1999, 293,696 students have participated in construction career day events. Since then, more than 250 events have been held nationwide. 67

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As the success and popularity of construction career days have increased, FHWA recognized the need for a centralized source of information and technical assistance to new and existing Construction Career Days host sites. In partnership with Rhode Island DOT (RIDOT), the University of Rhode Island Transportation Center (URITC) was named the National Construction Career Days Center by the FHWA. In cooperation with FHWA's Rhode Island Division office and RIDOT, the new partnership helps state and local committees effectively reach an expanding target population of students capable of entering the transportation construction industry. Contact Information: Jeff Cathcart, Director, Rhode Island T2 Center, 401-874-7075, jcjci@cox.net P.J. Keating Participation in Construction Career Days. P.J. Keating, a construction materials supplier, sends equipment and volunteers to high school-focused construction career days in order to spark an interest in a construction career. For example, in 2008, over 1,800 students from across the region experienced the world of construction at the Sixth Annual Massachusetts Construction Career Days (MassCCD) in 2008. The event is held at the New England Laborer's Training Academy in Hopkinton. At the event, students learn how to operate backhoes, excavators, jackhammers, pavers, and other construction equipment and participate in concrete finishing, welding, cutting and burning, electrical work, carpentry, laying brick and block, surveying, field engineering, and other hands-on activities. There is also a series of design challenges, including: Design, Construction, and a Universal component (completed by student volunteers prior to the event). Three monetary prizes are awarded to the schools achieving the most points per student. Volunteers from exhibitor companies and the operators that staff the exhibits can talk to the students about the skills, training, and professionalism they have used to succeed. Students also receive information on colleges, trade schools, and certification programs that serve the construction industry. The event gives students the opportunity to learn about the careers in the industry that interest them the most and the scholarships available to help them achieve their goals. This event is geared to give students information on job and educational opportunities in construction, engineering, and environmental fields in both union and open- shop companies. Since the event's inception, P.J. Keating Company of Lunenburg has sent several pieces of heavy equipment and employees to the event, allowing students to experience first hand what the industry is all about. There are typically 200 volunteers on hand at the site each day making sure students and their chaperones are given as much information as possible. Contact Information: Joanne Pagnotta, 978-582-5200 ext: 205, info@pjkeating.com SOM staff may want to consider how they can add to or leverage existing outreach efforts, to see SOM components included. See the alternative approaches discussed in the next section. 68

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ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES Alternative Approach 1 It may be difficult for companies to contribute equipment and volunteer time during times of economic instability. Thus, instead of hosting a specific SOM career day, the agency may find it more feasible to simply participate in a career day supported by multiple agencies or other parts of the DOT. Shorter is better, also, to reduce effort and cost. This option allows students the opportunity to learn about a variety of careers from different professionals and still creates an environment where students can get excited to speak to active professionals in their field of interest. Alternative Approach 2 Since it might be difficult to include a hands-on component at the school-site, the agency could establish a field trip for students in high school. This approach provides a real view of the agency's various departments and activities and can require much less DOT or operations agency staff time. No equipment needs to be brought to a school either. A field trip to the DOT could also include an opportunity for students to get hands-on experience with the machinery and equipment that is more difficult to offer at a school's career day. A drawback is the difficulty of allowing any large group to interact with machinery or equipment at once, outside of a training facility. Safety is also a consideration, especially in the field and with younger students. IMPACT Positive Outcomes of the Practice Increase awareness of SOM-related careers. Occupations and tasks can be presented in an interesting and hands-on way that can help to create an exciting perception of transportation jobs in today's youth. Greater awareness and enhanced perceptions of SOM are likely to result in a larger pool of talented applicants in the future. Facilitate greater understanding in the community of the agency's services and mission, and awareness of the value the agency brings to the region. 69

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CAUTIONARY CONSIDERATIONS There is a necessary time and labor commitment from HR and employees who will need to organize the program, develop and prepare materials, and spend a day away from their regular job. The return on investment from these types of programs may not be seen for some time, especially when targeted to younger students, and it can be harder to rationalize the time, from the recruitment and retention perspective. As a result, the agencies should collect feedback from the students and the program's director or school administrator on the program. It is important for the agency to identify specific areas that interest young students so that the subsequent programs can be tailored to generate more interest. 70