National Academies Press: OpenBook

Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies (2019)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25624.
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Page 4
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25624.
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Page 5

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

4 Estimates indicate that more than 14 million jobs—about 11% of civilian jobs in the United States—are related to infrastructure (Kane and Puentes 2014). This workforce pipeline includes a multitude of transportation occupations, from bus and truck drivers to autoworkers and engineers, in both motorized and non-motorized modes. Due to industry growth, transporta- tion also has the potential to be a major U.S. job creator with projections to add 417,000 net jobs from 2012 to 2022. An additional 4.2 million workers will need to be hired to fill vacancies created by separations (occupational transfers, retirements, and other exits) (U.S. Departments of Education, Transportation, and Labor 2015). Certain transportation sectors are already facing critical workforce shortfalls. For example, according to the Transportation Learning Center, 54.5% of people in the current workforce within the six largest transportation sectors are 45 years or older, 8.7% higher than the national average (U.S. Departments of Education, Transportation, and Labor 2015). Much is written about the shortage of drivers in the trucking and logistics sectors, but similar challenges exist in public transit and construction (Braden 2017). For their part, federal and state transporta- tion workforce shortages are widely considered a problem, presenting “a present and growing need” for workers (Martin and Dudley 2017). Although jobs in transportation are available for people with various levels of education, traditional training pipelines frequently are not designed to steer graduates toward the transportation sector. Furthermore, the types of jobs and skills needed are evolving. With increased automation and changes in the role of technology, jobs in the transportation sector are likely to change. Workforce strategies are needed to meet critical staffing needs and develop the current workforce. The TRB’s NCHRP has commissioned this project to synthesize the current state of practice associated with the implementation of transportation workforce strategies at state DOTs and associated LTAPs. The project investigates the current state of practice and identifies challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned through a literature review and a survey of state DOTs and the LTAPs. It includes five selected case examples of current practice. The synthesis addresses all modes of surface transportation and focuses especially on young adults, second career professionals, veterans, and encore careerists. State DOTs spend much of their time and money on highway engineering, project delivery, and operating the system, which is reflected in the comments and case examples. However, state DOTs have the authority and status to influence modes and expertise sectors spanning from aviation to active transportation (i.e., bicycling and walking), and long-range planning to environmental protection. The scope of this research only encompasses training, skills building, and planning to a lim- ited extent. Many of the macro-level elements that relate to workforce development and plan- ning fall beyond the scope of this synthesis research and merit further examination and study. Variables such as geo- and sociodemographics are important to understand to match people C H A P T E R 1 Introduction

Introduction 5 and jobs, evaluate equity, and to understand potential shifts, needs, and opportunities in the current and future workforces. Additional workforce development topics that fall out of scope, but play an important role in understanding the transportation workforce overall, include aspects of training and awareness through the pipeline all the way back to K-12 education, and agency recruitment strategies and practices. Workforce forecasting relates to the development and planning topics both included and beyond the scope of this study, and is another important topic for investigation. The literature review and case examples in this report touch on some of these topics, but a full analysis of the state of the transportation workforce pipeline, recruitment, workforce demographics, and work- force forecasting requires additional future work.

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Estimates indicate that more than 14 million jobs—about 11% of civilian jobs in the United States—are related to infrastructure. Transportation has the potential to be a major U.S. job creator with projections to add 417,000 net jobs from 2012 to 2022. An additional 4.2 million workers will need to be hired to fill vacancies created by people leaving the transportation workforce.

Transportation workforce strategies are highly decentralized with no national standards for operations, planning, or programming. This is not necessarily a criticism because there is tremendous variation in the transportation workforce needs from state to state. However, it means there is little documentation of best practices, making it difficult to know what innovation can be transferred from state to state.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Synthesis 543: Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies is a synthesis of the current state of practice associated with the implementation of transportation workforce planning and development strategies at state departments of transportation (DOTs) and associated local and tribal technical assistance programs (LTAPs/TTAPs).

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