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Action Plan for Recommendation #2 Develop SOM Curriculum Content for Related Higher Education Courses and Training Programs Hyperlink to Exhibit 28: Overview of Strategic SOM Workforce Recommendations by Career Stage 71

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RECOMMENDATION #2 Develop SOM Curriculum Content for Related Higher Education Courses and Training Programs Description: Associations, university transportation Recommendation Highlights centers (UTCs), and other stakeholder organizations could work with higher education and training Target Career Stage: Community colleges and four-year colleges providers to develop curriculum content that can be added to existing courses and programs. Target Will help with Attraction and Recruitment providers might include community colleges, four-year Estimated Time to Implement: More schools, Local Transportation Assistance Programs than 1 year (LTAPs), and the National Highway Institute. This Critical for creating awareness for SOM process will help address the technical needs of the occupations and to ensure students SOM discipline. In addition, since educators influence have the opportunity to learn and job decisions (e.g., teachers, school counselors), SOM develop skills needed for these jobs stakeholders should also consider ways to support Developing SOM course content in students through grants for night school, scholarships schools could help to increase numbers for degrees, and certification classes during off-peak of applications, reduce attrition of new times. hires, and reduce turnover and training expenses Rationale for Recommendation: These collaborations can help ensure that trained SOM personnel are ready for hire, when a transportation agency needs them. Phase 1 results indicated that the development of SOM curriculum will serve a critical need in developing the SOM pipeline. For example, interview participants indicated that SOM personnel learn about opportunities in transportation SOM while enrolled in school. Civil engineering courses in community colleges and universities that focus on transportation or even just begin discussions of transportation applications can be the gateway to SOM careers (Agrawal and Dill, 2009). Interview participants also reported that, like many other areas of transportation, but particularly in a cross-cutting transportation field like SOM, the training students receive from colleges and universities is often insufficient to prepare for a career in SOM. SOM represents a unique combination of engineering, communications, technology, and systems management that frequently requires backgrounds in multiple fields to perform well. An advantage is that this mix of topic areas can be very attractive to young applicants; however, awareness of the opportunity for employment and the development of particular skills in communications, technology, and systems management need to be increased. More specifically, research participants commented on the importance of communication and collaboration skills for employees within SOM and indicated that finding engineering applicants with these skills is a challenge. More often than not, the communication and collaboration skills that SOM staff need are primarily developed through experiences and cross-training in diverse fields. Furthermore, some noted that the training offered to students is too broad; they have experienced entry-level applicants lacking key, specialized SOM skills. Several participants indicated that the curriculum used at universities and colleges sometimes does not focus on SOM skills at all. These 72

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participants have observed a trend in students already focused on the specific field they want to enter when they join the transportation workforce, without knowing about or ever having heard of SOM. These participants suggested that students from these programs, although relatively qualified as entry-level staff, often do not even consider SOM as a possible field because it is not included in the curriculum. More than ever, DOT involvement would be helpful in working with training providers and colleges to understand and develop SOM skill sets and the transportation system of the future. RELEVANT POSITIONS 73

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TARGET AUDIENCES Source of Initiation Return on Investment Targeted Audience(s) Industry 0-2 years Primary: Education agencies, trainers, college deans, and Agency 3-5 years curriculum developers, as well as 6+ years state workforce agencies who are Primary Human Resource Focus charged with updating technical Estimated Time to curriculum to meet workforce Attraction Implement demands. Local Transportation Recruitment 0-3 months Assistance Programs (LTAPs) Retention 3-6 months and the National Highway Development 7 months-1 year Institute can also be among the target audiences for these More than 1 year Implementation Level programs. National Action Lead(s) Secondary: Professors, students Regional AASHTO Highway Subcommittee on Systems State Operation and Management, Agency regional SOM associations, or state SOM manager. IMPLEMENTATION PLAN Steps to Implement 1. Assemble Agency Project Team. 2. Conduct a Job Analysis. Once objectives are defined, a detailed job analysis should be conducted around each of the work activities that will be covered in the classroom. The job analysis will define the specific job tasks to be covered as well as their complexity, frequency, importance, and learning difficulty. 3. Develop General Course Objectives. Course objectives are the beginning point of any well- organized curriculum. Course objectives will help to define the general work activities that should be taught in the program or course. Objectives can typically be developed through the agency project team as well as industry resources and interested stakeholders. 4. Partner with Education Agencies, Faculty, and/or Trainers. Collaborating with external education decision-makers will allow SOM staff to tailor the curriculum development process to the needs of course providers. It will also increase buy-in from these stakeholders. 74

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5. Develop Performance Objectives. Performance objectives are statements describing what the learner is able to do after each task has been taught. They include the conditions, expected behavior, and the minimum level of achievement. A performance objective outlines the basics of the lesson; it tells what the student will do, how it will be done, and how the student will be evaluated when the task is completed. Performance objectives are an outgrowth of the goals and expectations of an occupation. 6. Select the Instructional Strategy. There are many other ways of delivering informational content than just lecture. Sometimes lecture and demonstration is perfect. Other times, a different approach may work better. With today's student, new and innovative teaching techniques must be considered. Students are more adept at using problem solving and critical thinking skills because of their familiarity with computers and the technology they have grown up with. The method of delivery chosen also depends a great deal on what is being taught. To determine the best method for the materials, seek advice from experienced curriculum developers, experiment, and evaluate. Some delivery options include role plays, peer teaching, cooperative learning, demonstration, interactive video, and independent study, but there are many others. 7. Write Theory and Demonstration Steps. Every lesson has theory. This is what is explained to the students about the task. Usually, it is done in the classroom. Most lessons have demonstration; this is where the students are shown how to do the task, in a lab setting. This includes safety, terminology, equipment needed, reasons for performing each step of the task, and review of any previous tasks that are needed as prerequisites. Theory steps do not need to cover every conceivable point of information. The purpose of listing theory is to help organize the operation in the instructor's mind. Terminology is important in writing theory steps. Theory only covers what will be conveyed to the student. There is no demonstration in the theory part of the lesson. Theory statements begin with a verb, and as a rule, only a few verbs are used. These include: explain, identify, discuss, review, and describe. Here are some examples: a. Explain relevant safety precautions. b. Discuss the importance of measuring twice before cutting. c. Review color codes. In essence, theory statements constitute a lesson plan outline. Demonstration includes the step-by-step process necessary to perform the task, beginning with safety precautions and ending with a final step, such as checking for accuracy or cleaning up the work area. Demonstration should have these characteristics: a. A logical step of progression toward total task performance. b. A sequential set of skills as substeps. c. It can be demonstrated, performed, and evaluated as a meaningful task component. d. All of the steps should equal the task performance. It should be noted that demonstration steps are only used when the task calls for an active performance by the student. 75

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8. Develop Methods to Measure Student Performance. The last step in curriculum development is important because in order to evaluate student performance, written and performance tests need to be developed. Performance assessments help determine if the student has reached the desired goal. 9. Refine Materials Based on Changing Job Requirements and Evaluation Feedback. A valid and usable curriculum is one that is constantly under revision to keep up-to-date with advances in the field and improve instructional content. COMMUNICATIONS PLAN Communication/Outreach Strategies Identify information channels that reach out to colleges, education professionals, and potential students, such as grassroots organizations, associations, and non-profits. Share instructional materials developed internally, job descriptions, job analyses, etc., and discuss need shortfalls and projected hiring. Develop materials to promote the new curriculum through the identified information channels. In class, resources might include a one-page hand-out that instructors of existing courses can use. Other resources may include college websites, publications, and events/fairs (i.e., web banner for website, article for quarterly magazine, web poster for bi-weekly e-newsletter). Develop materials for college recruitment fairs such as a flyer to promote the new SOM program, email to registered participants, and advertisement through the fair magazine. Develop materials to target students/potential recruits: Radio announcements (on-air and web-streamed) Video vignette with SOM student testimonial to disseminate through social media venues Tweet SOM-related news Identify media contacts (newspapers, radio, magazines) who cover education news and who would be interested in writing a story on the new curriculum offerings and the importance of SOM careers. Process for Obtaining Buy-In Provide data that highlight the impact of the new curriculum and tie them to specific strategic goals the industry has regarding recruitment targets. For example, develop a succinct PowerPoint presentation highlighting key data that supports the recommendations. Reach out to and partner with workforce investment boards and education agencies that influence the curriculum of colleges and explain that incorporating more SOM-related content into their curriculum can increase enrollments. Develop a story on the unique characteristics of the curriculum; its advantages for students, employers, and the workforce in general; and satisfaction of employees in the field. 76

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Obtain case studies indicating success of other industries and/or transportation fields in similar curriculum development efforts and co-benefits in terms of college enrollment, if possible. USEFUL INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL RESOURCES To Implement Practice Obtain support from leaders at the industry level. Create job descriptions to identify job tasks and knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform the job. Engage subject matter experts who are invested in the development of the new curriculum, and who can provide useful information about the job and the target candidate pool throughout the development process. Compile data on which positions are the most difficult to fill and could benefit the most from a college SOM program. Find organizations who work with colleges and/or education professionals who can act as partners/advisors on the project. To Sustain Practice Ensure support for revisions to the curriculum every few years or as needed so that it is tailored to best meet recruitment targets and needs, and the current labor pool and economic conditions. Collect evidence that the curriculum is providing a return on the investment. For example, the industry may calculate the following: turnover data before and after implementing the new curriculum, money saved due to reduction in turnover, increases in applications received, retention numbers over specific periods of time, and increases in new hire performance. EXAMPLES OF EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS LDOTD's Master's of Engineering Program. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development's (LDOTD) Master's of Engineering initiative is a good example of a curriculum development project that is currently underway. LDOTD estimates between 30 and 40 percent of the agency's workforce will be eligible to retire in the next 5 years. As a result, LDOTD recognized a need to build the skills of staff that will remain with the agency. Thus, LDOTD is currently implementing a Master's of Engineering program to improve their workforce development efforts by making higher education more accessible to LDOTD employees. Through educating employees, the agency hopes to be better able to fill those positions, specifically those of middle managers, which will be vacant due to retirement. LDOTD is coordinating with engineering schools in Louisiana to use distance learning technology, which allows courses being taught on one campus to be viewed by participants in a 77

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class/training room at another university or LDOTD facility. The courses, coordinated by LDOTD, will be taught by faculty members at the participating universities who are recruited by the Louisiana Transportation Research Center (LTRC). LTRC has been spearheading the implementation efforts for LDOTD's Master's of Engineering Program. Currently, LTRC is working to obtain buy-in from potential partner universities. To date, LTRC has showcased the Master's of Engineering Program at the Louisiana Engineering Transportation conference, and publicized the program through the American Society for Civil Engineers, Louisiana Engineering Society, the DOTD's internal intranet and email systems, and several other societies and discussion boards. Because the Master's of Engineering Program is still in the implementation process, only one individual has gone through the whole program and received a degree so far, but the graduate's feedback for LTRC was very positive. Contact Information: Louisiana Transportation Research Center, 225-767-9131 Massachusetts Partnership Between Green Industries and Community Colleges. The Environmental Technology program at Cape Cod Community College (CCCC) emerged in 1994 in response to Cape Cod's significant environmental degradation. Since then, this state-funded, green-workforce training program has improved and expanded to include training in new technologies such as renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures used to combat climate change. Along with two nearby technical vocational high schools, CCCC is preparing students with the knowledge and technical skills needed to join the growing environmental workforce. The program also provides students with valuable real-world learning experience through internships designed to help the student and the organization where they intern. At the same time, the college has become a leader in sustainability by greening its own campus and encouraging other schools to do the same. As a result, CCCC has become a leading voice in the environmental movement among institutes of higher education both regionally and nationally. Contact Information: Valerie Massard, Environmental Technology Program Coordinator, 508-362-2131 ext. 4468, vmassard@capecod.edu 78

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ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES Alternative Approach 1 Develop in-house SOM training program that provides new hires with proper knowledge-base and skills to perform SOM duties proficiently. This would occur at the agency level and require less coordination of resources across agencies and less outreach to unfamiliar educational institutions. An in-house training program would also require a significant time and monetary investment in each new hire, but SOM may experience other benefits from having the needed knowledge systematized in this fashion. Alternative Approach 2 Develop a short, optional SOM training event that could be added into an existing college transportation program. This approach would not provide graduates who are fully versed in the SOM field but would at least introduce them to SOM concepts, providing many of the benefits at less cost and effort. It may also be a quicker method for the industry to influence the current education system and may be more readily received by colleges, as it requires lower investment. This approach can also be employed as an interim measure. IMPACT Positive Outcomes of the Practice Increase in college graduates with SOM skills. Increases in applications. Reduced attrition in new hires. Reduced turnover and training expenses. Money saved in training costs due to filtering out hires that are a poor fit. Improved performance of new hires. 79

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CAUTIONARY CONSIDERATIONS High Cost--Obtaining the funding to develop and implement new curriculum. Developing an SOM program at the college level will certainly lead to more skilled applicants, but it will be expensive and labor intensive to develop. Knowledgeable professionals from the DOT, regional agency, or local governments may need to supply much of this. It is essential that champions work with agency and/or state leadership to secure this funding and time commitment in advance. Use of Resources--Time and labor commitment from stakeholders and subject matter experts will be substantial for a 6-month to 1-year period or longer. Again, it is best if project leaders work with agency and/or state leadership to secure resources in advance. This will decrease the chance of delays during the development and implementation process. 80