National Academies Press: OpenBook

Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies (2019)

Chapter: Chapter 4 - Case Examples

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 4 - Case Examples." 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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35 4.1 Overview The organizational structure and program offerings of state DOTs and LTAPs vary consid- erably. To help understand the details of workforce development and planning practice, the research team collected detailed information on five case examples. Case examples were selected to profile a cross-section of organizational types encountered in the survey. The research team sought the following candidate types of agency to profile: • Two state DOTs where LTAP is a component of the state DOT • Two university-based LTAPs • One state DOT in a state where the LTAP is housed at a university Agencies that submitted a survey response were eligible to be a case example. Survey respon- dents were also asked if they were willing to be a case example—an affirmative answer helped narrow the field. The research team considered geographic distribution and LTAP organizational structure when narrowing the candidate case example list to five targets. Comprehensiveness of survey answers and an active program (compared with others who participated in the survey) were also considerations for selection. The proposed case examples were submitted to and endorsed by the project panel. The selected agencies are shown below. The first two case examples are state DOTs that directly operate an LTAP. The second two are standalone LTAPs—both at universities. The final case example covers a state DOT (without LTAP) with an active workforce development program. • Ohio DOT/LTAP • Alaska DOT/LTAP • Montana LTAP (Montana State University) • New York LTAP (Cornell University) • Michigan DOT The survey respondent was contacted and invited to participate as a case example. Additional staff members were invited to participate in the process, if desired by the respondent. The research team reviewed documents retrieved on the case example’s web page, work plans/reports, and the survey response, including documents submitted as part of the survey phase of the project. The next step was to conduct phone interview(s) to fill in gaps in knowledge. A customized, semi-structured interview instrument was drafted for each case example. The interview instru- ment was shared with the respondent in advance of the initial phone call. Most case examples were completed using a single 45- to 75-minute-long phone call, although follow-up calls were conducted as needed. A draft case example was prepared and transmitted to the respondent for review. The respondent was asked to correct factual inaccuracies and direct the research team to additional resources that would help expand the information available to the authors. C H A P T E R 4 Case Examples

36 Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies The intent of each case example was to present a snapshot of the organization or functional unit, highlighting its activities related to the workforce in its state. Each case example contains a brief overview of the LTAP or state DOT functional unit(s) that conducts workforce develop- ment and/or workforce planning. Additionally, the research team identified and expanded on up to three practices or programs that were notable for their innovation, effectiveness, or transfer- ability to peer organizations. 4.2 Ohio Office of Local Programs/LTAP Center LTAP status Component of DOT Employees 5 full-time equivalents In-house skills training Yes Training offered to non- DOT employees Yes Workforce forecasting No Ohio’s LTAP Center is in the Office of Local Programs within ODOT’s Planning Divi- sion. The LTAP Center’s five staff members take the lead on skills training, technical train- ing, and non-training technical assistance primarily for non-ODOT employees. Other parts of ODOT—namely the Office of Employee Development and Lean—lead efforts related to ODOT employee-only required training, human resources, union training, and workforce forecasting. The Office of Employee Development and Lean does not train individuals unless they are DOT employees. Ohio LTAP manages a portfolio of courses developed by ODOT, the FHWA Resource Center, NHI, NTI, an e-learning suite of classes, technical assistance resources and one-on- one consultations, and professional development webinars. In 2017, Ohio LTAP had contact with 14,895 students (some students more than once). Of those, 7,865 (or 52%) attended live, in-person, instructor-led courses. Ohio LTAP’s position within ODOT provides several advantages. First, Ohio LTAP partici- pates in the regular ODOT budget process and does not have to compete for grant renewal. Second, Ohio LTAP is in a position to coordinate closely with other parts of ODOT, such as the Office of Employee Development within the Human Resources Division and technical offices, such as Roadway Engineering and Environmental. Third, being located in the Office of Local Programs gives direct access to the planners and engineers at Ohio’s county and municipal public works agencies. The $1.067 million core program budget for FY 2018 was derived from four sources. Federal funds and ODOT each contribute $150,000. The Governors Highway Safety Office (GHSO) contributed $163,000 (specifically to cover NHI safety course fees). The largest piece of the LTAP Center’s budget—56 percent—is drawn from course fees, about $604,000. Public agencies pay $10 per contact hour for an Ohio LTAP-developed class ($50 for a full class day). Private-sector employees pay $25 per contact hour. NHI courses carry higher fees, but all safety courses have no tuition based on the GHSO funding to cover the NHI safety courses or an internal policy decision to provide other roadway safety-related training at no charge. Technical skill courses tend to be in highest demand, and classes on roundabouts and performance-based intersection design frequently sell out within hours of being posted. Ohio LTAP has applied for and received grants for special projects. Grants are not generally included in the budget information above because these funding sources are time limited and

Case Examples 37 secured for special, time-limited projects. Ohio LTAP has successfully secured grants from the Ohio State Transportation Innovation Council and the U.S. DOT/FHWA. Ohio LTAP has developed an online suite of e-learning courses for the counties, municipali- ties, and townships and to become qualified for Local Project Administration (LPA). LPAs are required to train their staff using the suite as a condition of maintaining their ability to self- administer federally funded projects. The online course suite was developed by LTAP staff using a U.S. DOT Technology Transfer grant. A wide variety of students participate in Ohio LTAP training. About 10% of the enrolled students are drawn from ODOT Headquarters or one of ODOT’s 12 district offices. Most LTAP enrolled students are drawn from Ohio’s LPAs. Other public agencies (e.g., utilities, metropolitan planning organizations, and public transit operators) also regularly enroll in courses. Although Ohio LTAP has a robust lineup of programs, staff have identified several needs: • An important unmet subject matter training need is on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to include the utility of UAVs to highway engineers, including how to deploy them and use collected data. Now, no readily available outside program addressing this topic has been found for ODOT to use and no funding has been provided or obtained to create a course from scratch. • An analysis of demographics and evolving learning styles would lead to an enhanced mix of course delivery methods. For instance, agencies must adapt to increases in teleworking. • More LTAP staff would help to improve the number of contacts with local governments, add new courses, and enlarge strategic studies. • According to the ODOT Office of Employee Development and Lean, each ODOT staff mem- ber’s job description used to include an annual training plan for their position. This require- ment went away in 2008 because of the recession. Restoring this requirement would improve the profile of training, improve skills, and help the Office of Employee Development and Lean forecast the need for class offerings. There is no funding on the immediate horizon to address these needs. However, Ohio LTAP believes grant applications may be able to pay for special initiatives, and it has been successful in applying for and winning grants in the past. 4.2.1 Notable Practice #1: Use of ODOT Subject Matter Specialist Instructors at Zero Cost Ohio LTAP draws on its in-house specialists to be the instructors for nearly all courses. When a course need is identified, a current ODOT staff member is recruited to teach the course. LTAP staff work with the newly minted instructor to design the course. LTAP staff bring expertise in course design, adult learning, and learning modality, while the instructor is responsible for the technical rigor of the course. Instructors use ODOT manuals, best practices, AASHTO publica- tions, and national best practices as a part of their course development. LTAP staff work with the instructor through the development process. After the first course offerings, LTAP continues to support the instructor through course material updates prior to scheduling course sessions in later years. Reviews are timed to take place at least 6 months before the next scheduled course offering, which is sufficient lead time to implement changes. LTAP staff also handle all course publicity, registration, and logistical support. Courses are reviewed by LTAP staff after each offering using the Kirkpatrick evaluation model (Kirkpatrick Partners 2009). Each course receives a Level 1 review during this regular process,

38 Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies which assesses what the participants thought of the training they received. More intense levels of scrutiny are applied to four different select courses in a year’s time. Amendments to the course are considered and/or made from the results of these reviews. Using ODOT staff members has several advantages. The most important advantage is con- trolling expenses. Ohio LTAP spends only 1.5% of its annual budget on contract instructors. Currently this is for courses on gravel roads and the Americans with Disabilities Act, but outside instructors have been used for other courses in the past when the expertise was not readily avail- able from among ODOT staff. In-house instructors do not receive additional compensation for teaching a class, but their workload is balanced to allow time to prepare and teach. Non-LTAP staff instructors charge their time to a cost code related to training, but this does not affect the bottom line of the LTAP Center. Senior executives at ODOT who place an emphasis on training and make clear that being an instructor is encouraged and prioritized to promote knowledge sharing make this system possible. 4.2.2 Notable Practice #2: Non-Training Technical Assistance Some LTAPs are focused on classroom and online courses. The Ohio LTAP operates technical assistance programs that are not courses. These programs provide help to practitioners, facilitate peer-to-peer information exchange, and take on tasks that are not in the portfolio elsewhere in ODOT. Examples of non-training technical assistance programs are: • A circuit rider program that visits the state’s LPAs to assist with topics such as work-zone traffic control, roadway safety, generational differences, and snow/ice removal. • A series of professional development bicycle rides to help ODOT, LPA, and partner staff see firsthand the physical status of bicycle facilities. • LTAP staff who led road safety audits by request from LPAs. • Maintenance of video libraries for use on demand by professionals. Videos in the public domain are posted on YouTube. Videos subject to copyright or use limitations are kept in a lending library facilitated by Ohio LTAP. • Delivery and Tech Transfer Toolboxes that help LPAs better understand technologies and processes important to their operations. For example, one of the offerings is “How to Perform a Curve Speed Study.” • Creation of various smartphone applications providing in-the-field training on subjects such as traffic sign installation and roadside safety. • Maintenance of an online database of pre-screened outside publications to assist with knowledge building on roadway topics. • An equipment loan program through which LPAs can borrow materials such as radar speed feedback counters and pedestrian counters. • LTAP coordinates an annual innovation awards program recognizing local government partners who bring innovative ideas into practice. • Within ODOT, the Office of Employee Development and Lean has a job shadowing/ mentoring program to help build capacity. For example, the Highway Technician Academy pairs newer employees with experienced technicians to build competencies. ODOT also offers a new manager training program that has a significant mentoring component. 4.2.3 Notable Practice #3: Regular Local Consultation Ohio LTAP engages in regular consultation with local governments, or more broadly, its customers. The consultation process leads to an improved course catalog and other technical assistance programs. In addition, consultation activities serve as a marketing tool to increase awareness of courses and assistance opportunities, as customers frequently change due to

Case Examples 39 elections and retirements. The consultation activities are shown in Ohio LTAP’s work plan, and are in turn reflected in the statewide work plan. Ohio LTAP performs a customer needs assessment with all existing customers (LPAs, con- sultants, contractors, ODOT employees, etc.) every 2 years. This takes the form of a survey. The results are used to determine training topics and scheduling priority over the preceding 2 years. The biennial customer needs assessment is supplemented with periodic, in-person focus groups. The intent of focus groups is to take a deeper look at LTAP services and determine what additional service types need to be provided to assist customers in their planning, building, and maintenance of Ohio’s local roadway system. LTAP staff also have regular outreach meetings at the county and township levels. Staff travel to each of Ohio’s 88 counties at least once every 3 years. Although many people are involved in the outreach meetings, the primary audience is the township trustees, fiscal officers, and their respective county engineer. County engineers also carry the training message to municipal and township trustees within their jurisdiction. 4.3 Alaska DOT Office of Research, Development, and Technology Transfer LTAP status Component of DOT Employees 20 full-time equivalents In-house skills training Yes Training offered to non- DOT employees Yes Workforce forecasting No State transportation workforce development and planning activities are housed in the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF), with the Department’s Office of Research, Development (RD) & Technology Transfer (T2) housing the LTAP program. The DOT&PF’s workforce management plan consists of six integrated elements: (1) employee recognition; (2) employee wellness and engagement; (3) knowledge management; (4) mod- ern work environment; (5) succession planning; and (6) workforce development. The goal behind workforce management is to have the right people in the right jobs at the right time with the right knowledge. The workforce development efforts are focused on personal and professional development. There are separate training personnel throughout the agency, focusing on separate modes and/or knowledge areas (e.g., police and fire officers, marine vessel employees, and engineers). The agency plans to consolidate coordination of training into a unified strategic workforce management group. DOT&PF contracts with an industrial organization psychologist to help with learning outcomes, course delivery, content develop- ment, and organizational development. Including the LTAP—or Alaska T2—program, the DOT&PF has 20 full-time equivalent employees assigned to workforce management, with only one position assigned full time. The agency uses a combination of funding sources for workforce management and currently spends roughly $150,000 annually, not including salaries and benefits. While there is generally sufficient funding for targeted workforce development efforts, there is not enough for a com- prehensive workforce management program. Full funding of such a program would require new monies for items such as reimbursements for all continuing education credits, payment for any

40 Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies job-related certifications, additional full-time positions dedicated to workforce management, and a new knowledge management IT system. The state is experiencing budgetary challenges due to declining revenue from oil and gas extraction that, in turn, affects the DOT&PF and T2 Center’s funding. The agency also uses internal and contracted instructors for its workforce management program. Either the Department of Administration’s training manager or the external con- tracted trainers certify internal instructors. The agency is repurposing a vacant position to become an internal training manager, who will be responsible for training internal instructors and coordinating the workforce management program’s training and course development. Highlighted programs include the Leadership Development Program, Alaska Mainte- nance Leadership Academy, Department Employee Recognition Program, and the online onboarding site. Through the new strategic workforce management plan, the agency will be dedicating addi- tional staff resources to integrate knowledge management with more traditional workforce plan- ning and development activities in order to foster even greater employee skills, engagement, and job satisfaction. Core competencies across all employees include civility, safety, cyber security, teaming, and communication. Like state DOTs across the country, the Alaska DOT&PF struggles with employee retention. Because salaries will never be competitive with the private sector, the Department is looking for innovative ways to attract new employees, but recognizes that retention is just as important as recruitment. As part of its strategic plan, DOT&PF is focused on garnering national and interna- tional recognition in its workforce development efforts, and is encouraging its best and brightest employees to foster national relationships. 4.3.1 Notable Practice #1: Nationally Recognized Leadership Development Program The DOT&PF’s Leadership Development Program has been nationally recognized by AASHTO and TRB as a best practice. The first cohort graduated in 2015 and to date, more than 150 employees have graduated from the program. In addition, 20% of the graduates have been pro- moted since their graduation; some have received more than one promotion. Among those who have completed the program, post-program surveys have indicated that supervisors need several skills in order to succeed, including a better understanding of their roles, responsibilities, and legal liabilities; easy technical guides and knowledge management systems; and training on how to be more effective communicators and how to facilitate meetings. As part of the Leadership Development Program, cross-discipline, peer-to-peer knowledge exchanges have been implemented. These programs bring personnel together from various dis- ciplines within the agency for trainings on skills that are universal. Trainers have recognized that by breaking down silos within the agency, staff are able to learn from each other and easily transfer skills across disciplines. 4.3.2 Notable Practice #2: Use of Informal Mentoring Program The DOT&PF used to offer a formal mentorship program, but the program ended after some mentors indicated that it was too labor-intensive and there were consistently more men- tees than there were mentors. To help address these issues, the agency now uses a grassroots informal program, “coaching moments,” in place of the original mentor program. Through coaching moments, tenured staff are encouraged to advise junior staff informally when teach- able opportunities arise.

Case Examples 41 The coaching moments model has been used, for example, in the context of meeting debriefs, or “after-action reviews,” in which small teams discuss what went well and what can be improved on in the future for projects and presentations. This has been more widely accepted across the agency and is proving successful in encouraging knowledge transfer, professional development, and continuous learning/improvement. 4.4 Montana LTAP LTAP status University Employees 3 full-time equivalents In-house skills training Yes Training offered to non-DOT employees Yes Workforce forecasting Preliminary The Montana LTAP was launched in 1983 at Montana State University as the Rural Technical Assistance Program. It became the LTAP in 1991 and its mission is to serve local agencies, cities, and counties that likely only interact with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) to administer projects, but not for training. In this way, the MDT and the LTAP are interactive, as the LTAP provides critical training and the MDT focuses on general workforce development. As the MDT workforce turns over and loses skills and knowledge base, the LTAP works to fill the voids. In 2017, the Montana LTAP conducted more than 50 MT LTAP Training Sessions, with about 2,751 non-unique participants accounting for 242 training hours and 10,106 participant hours. The program also answers more than 1,000 requests for technical assistance on an annual basis. The LTAP focuses much of its time on individual employees and on develop- ing their skills base through the Road Scholar and Road Master certification programs. The agency is currently co-developing a safety certification program with the state of Colorado, the Education and Workforce Program Manager at the Western Transportation Institute, and the Colorado LTAP. Such collaborations allow it to work within the constraints of a limited budget while still making a relevant impact in the LTAP Region and, possibly, on a national level. The agency’s budget is composed of $150,000 in federal support from the FHWA, which is matched with $150,000 from MDT derived from the state gas tax. MDT provides an additional $80,000 in state planning and research discretionary funds. State funds are heavily lobbied for and supported by MDT and local agencies, including the Montana Association of Counties, which pushed for the state gas tax increase in 2017. Before then, the state gas tax had not been increased since the mid-1980s. Some of the agency’s trainings are provided at no cost, but most do charge fees, which average $50 to $100 per person. These fees go into a revolving fund that is used, in part, to maintain the agency’s two work vehicles, which function as the staff’s field offices. Agency personnel are con- sistently out in the field interacting with customers, whether delivering content and/or simply being in contact. Working within the existing budget constraints, the agency is focusing on delivering its stan- dard training offerings, but at higher quality and credibility than previously available. This means, for example, that they recertified the field training staff through the American Traffic

42 Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies Safety Services Association for the work-zone traffic control, flagger, and traffic control Super- visor courses to maintain delivery of relevant, credible, high-quality training. To determine needs for courses and other workforce development efforts, the agency admin- isters a questionnaire at the annual Montana County and Road Supervisors (MACRS) confer- ence. Beyond this, MACRS has five districts throughout the state, and each district representative calls peers in their district to determine training needs, relaying this information back to LTAP. LTAP staff also interview local transportation agency staff to assess training needs. These efforts are continual and ongoing. Often, city and county road supervisors are used to deliver training content. LTAP staff have noticed that in many cases, these supervisors benefit from delivering the instruction; most of them know more than they realized, so teaching represents a growing opportunity for staff. 4.4.1 Notable Practice #1: Regional and State Collaborations The LTAP participates in collaborative partnerships. Its staff attend and provide content for multiagency events such as the North and South Dakota Regional Local Roads Conference, participate in regional and national LTAP coordinating organizations, serve on the Montana Highway Patrol Transportation Incident Management System committee, and collaborate on research projects with the MDT, MSU-Bozeman, and the Western Transportation Institute. They are also collaborating with the Colorado LTAP, Colorado Department of Transporta- tion, and Front Range Community College (FRCC) to assist in the development of the first-in- the-nation 2-year AAS degree program in Highway Maintenance Management. This program is designed to help employees meet the demands of the future while earning post-secondary credentials. The AAS degree, which was scheduled to begin in January 2019, is geared for high- way maintenance supervisors and those wishing to advance in the organization or to be better prepared for supervisory positions. The AAS degree is relevant to state, county, and municipal public works agencies as well as public-sector companies involved in the maintenance of roads and bridges. FRCC will be evalu- ating industry-provided training and certifications, including those from the American Public Works Association, LTAP, and the NHI. 4.4.2 Notable Practice #2: Impending Challenges Associated with TTAP Restructure The recent restructure of the FHWA Tribal Technical Assistance Program into a national center headquartered in Virginia may challenge Montana’s ability to provide necessary transportation training services for the existing tribal constituents that it serves. Previously, tribal technical assistance was offered by regional centers, including several in western states. Tribal representatives in Montana consider themselves customers of the Montana LTAP, and have expressed desire to continue attending Montana LTAP trainings despite the admin- istrative consolidation. There is a general distrust of federally run programs from the eastern United States coming to tribal governments to provide programs and training support. As a local agency, with local representation, Montana LTAP continues to have a working relationship with the tribes in Montana. Montana LTAP sees the Montana Tribes as a key partner and customer in Montana, and the LTAP is working to accommodate them as much as possible within its existing training model. This has required a larger focus on eastern and northern Montana and on selecting new venues to address the increased training demand.

Case Examples 43 4.5 New York LTAP LTAP status University Employees 7.5 full-time equivalents In-house skills training Yes Training offered to non-DOT employees Yes Workforce forecasting No New York’s LTAP is one of the oldest continually operating transportation training institu- tions in the country, and predates the Federal Local Technical Assistance Program. Cornell had been involved in extension for highways since the mid-1910s, but has had an official program, the Cornell Local Roads Program, in operation since 1951. The Cornell Local Roads Program became the official FHWA-supported LTAP Center for New York State in 1984. The contempo- rary administrative unit uses dual names: the Cornell Local Roads Program and the New York LTAP (LTAP is used for the remainder of this case example). Today LTAP is housed in the Cornell University College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering. This location has advantages and disadvantages. Cornell University is part private and part public. The LTAP chooses to locate in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences because that college is public; the College of Engi- neering is private. Being located on the public side of the university facilitates state financial con- tributions and offers a more advantageous overhead rate on grants. However, the administrative position of the LTAP can be problematic for branding and awareness by those who are seeking training or technical assistance. It can also hinder the involvement of graduate and undergradu- ate students enrolled in the College of Engineering. The LTAP has built strong links to other university functional units, such as the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Public Policy, and the Community and Rural Development Institute, which can, in part, aid the center in workforce development activities aimed toward university students. The LTAP has six full-time staff who organize and conduct training, technical assistance, leader- ship programs, and research. Three part-time staff are facilitators for LTAP events. In addition, LTAP hires circuit riders who offer instruction and technical assistance to New York’s 1,599 local highway governments. Technical assistance includes researching and answering inquiries from practitioners—as many as 600 are received per year. Many of the answers are posted to a website, which functions as a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page (Cornell Local Roads Program n.d.). The New York LTAP Center is funded by FHWA’s standard $150,000 grant, which is over- matched by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) for a total funding of $640,000. Significant overhead subsidy accrues due to the LTAP Center being on the public side of Cornell University—overhead rates charged to the LTAP are 18%. Finally, participant fees and continuing education credit fees bring in $40,000 to 50,000 each year, or about 6% of the total LTAP budget. LTAP has been successful in applying for special project grants, includ- ing those offered by the Morrill Land Grant/Smith-Lever Act, FHWA ASAP program, and the New York Governor’s Highway Safety Office. The local revenues are generally used as flexible funds to support extra activities. LTAP believes a nominal course fee results in better student engagement and fewer cancellations. However, courses must be affordable and accessible to all. Engineering courses cost $75 per class day, and all other courses are $55 per class day. The LTAP course catalog includes more than a dozen course titles. Courses are offered over a 2-year cycle, but can always be requested if the particular workshop is not currently scheduled.

44 Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies Historical demand helps predict desire for a workshop and can result in a course being deleted from the catalog. Approximately 75% of courses are taught by LTAP’s circuit riders. New courses take about a year to implement. New courses have an advisory panel to review the curriculum and oversee the development of a student workbook. Other programs run by the LTAP include online tutorials, quick response online Q&A, technical tip sheets, a library of resources for pro- fessionals, research projects, and an asset management intern program. The LTAP has recently adopted a new mission statement, a process that brought together a revived external advisory panel and that includes elements collaboration within and external to the Local Roads Program. Drafting the plan was a 4-month effort stemming from efforts to engage stakeholders. Engagement came from a variety of sources, including an external advisory panel, surveys, higher education partnerships, and professional association partnerships. To begin the strategic planning process, the LTAP established an external advisory panel. This group was charged with leading the development of the new strategic plan and mission statement. The LTAP previously had an external advisory group, but it had been dormant for more than 20 years. The external advisory panel meets twice yearly to offer ongoing advice. The external group was composed of stakeholders, including local, state, and university leaders. Developing a mission statement as part of the ongoing operations of the LTAP Center under guidance from outside perspectives helps the LTAP to think about long-term funding, program- ming, and collaboration with broad perspectives and new ideas. Vocational instruction historically has not been offered as much as technical training for sev- eral reasons, including organizational habits and the need to maintain professional credentials. The LTAP believes that additional leadership programs are needed, and would develop them if resources were available. Frontline staff and first-level supervisors need a “leadership academy” to help these professionals make the transition from an employee to a manager/leader. 4.5.1 Notable Practice #1: Partnerships with Professional Associations The LTAP has formal and informal agreements in place with allied higher education institu- tions and professional trade groups, which help to foster collaboration and disseminate training opportunities. Higher education partners include the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, SUNY–Binghamton, Clarkson University, and Mohawk Community College. Beyond the higher education partners, the LTAP has written agreements with six statewide associations: • Association of Towns of the State of New York • New York Conference of Mayors • New York State County Highway Superintendents Association • New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways • American Public Works Association Upstate Chapter • American Public Works Association New York Metro Chapter 4.5.2 Notable Practice #2: Regular Stakeholder Surveys The LTAP undertakes many surveys of their stakeholders. One survey is an annual effort. Other types are evaluations of workshops and of conferences hosted by the LTAP. These surveys feed into strategic and short-range planning efforts. Each year the LTAP conducts a survey of its customers. This survey is in addition to course evaluations and distance learning metrics collected as part of classes. The annual survey asks several straightforward questions about the LTAP’s course offerings and effectiveness of its pro- grams. The annual survey also asks speculative questions to gauge the market for new courses

Case Examples 45 and programs. For example, the 2017 survey asked whether courses and modules on the geo- graphic information system (GIS) would be of use. Based on information collected, the LTAP now knows that a majority of its customers have in-house GIS capability and have an interest in GIS course offerings. Every 4 or 5 years, the annual survey is longer to allow for more detail and to gain a broader knowledge of the LTAP program activities. The annual survey is a required activity under the LTAP’s grant with NYSDOT. Notable Practice #3: Self-Funded Proprietary Program The LTAP’s oldest ongoing program—dating to 1938—is the Highway School. This 3-day program is intended for town road superintendents, but it is open to the public. A registration fee is charged, and the program is self-supporting, without any federal, state, or university fund- ing. The Highway School features technical sessions that help keep engineers’ skills up to date. This includes sessions on topics including legal issues, storm water management, state of good repair, raw materials, and equipment life cycle. The Highway School offers sessions on both technical and leadership topics. Examples of leadership sessions include emergency management, managing conflict, and a Q&A panel on legal issues. Leadership sessions consume approximately half of the agenda, and are often break- out sessions that attendees can choose to attend. 4.6 Michigan DOT Performance Excellence Section LTAP status University Employees 10 full-time equivalents In-house skills training Yes Training offered to non-DOT employees Yes Workforce forecasting No The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) designs its workforce development pro- grams around its mission of providing all employees with a baseline of knowledge and training custom to their specific role. The agency measures this goal by assessing employee possession of certain competencies. Core competencies applied agencywide and were developed before cur- rent staff in charge of the program joined MDOT. Currently, new employees receive foundational training and supervisors receive supervisory training as part of the workforce development efforts. MDOT is divided into seven regions, with a DOT office in each region and three to five trans- portation service centers in each region (a total of 22), DOT maintenance garages in the state, and two central office locations. This decentralization poses challenges in agencywide strategic planning. To create a unified vision and oversight for the workforce strategic planning and implementations, MDOT created a steering committee with members from multiple regions, with multimodal backgrounds, and the Director of Human Resources. The steering committee provides direction to the Performance Excellence Section. In general, MDOT employees receive power, or “soft” skills, from DOT workforce program- ming, and technical skills from LTAP programming. Succession planning efforts are led by the MDOT Human Resources Department. The entire process of onboarding (by department) is being revamped, as are other stages of their employee development life cycle.

46 Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies Funding for courses and training come from varied sources. At the DOT, software and other trainings come directly out of each department’s budget, while some programs are supported directly by federal or state gas tax funds, or employees use LTAP trainings. Due to the large variety of programs and funding sources, even the Office of Performance Excellence at the state DOT is unable to identify and quantify the funding streamed into MDOT for workforce devel- opment purposes. Given the age of the currently identified core competencies for MDOT employees, the Per- formance Excellence Section at the agency is refining the competencies and programming. A 2017 employee survey yielded an impressive 38.5% response rate, results from which will help workforce training staff to reassess training and programming. Preliminarily identified themes include employee desire for more on-demand and online training, possibilities to opt out of trainings when the related competency can be demonstrated prior to the training, and a desire for project management training and leadership programs. One of the struggles that all decentralized DOTs are likely to encounter is that certain trainings/courses/workshops/programs are offered only in-person in certain locations. In Mich- igan, Civil Service offers programming for all state employees that interest many employees, but while some trainings are offered online, some are only available in-person in Lansing. Expanding remote training options for these courses could help them reach many more MDOT employees and decrease the challenges that employees face in acquiring training to enhance their position and value in the workplace. MDOT offered project management training in the past—comprehensive enough to be a part of an entire certificate program, and at some point phased it out due to budget constraints. It is restarting the program this year and hopes that it will grow. In general, setting competencies or performance measures related to common skills needed at the agency can help ensure that critical programming is developed and maintained over time. The 2017 employee survey was the first recent collection of feedback on workforce pro- gramming at MDOT. There is no formal evaluation process, although observing the employee survey responses and discussion among staff and the steering committee help assess the cur- rent state of the workforce and future needs. Communications among departments and regions can also help foster discussion about existing and potential programming. Monthly meet- ings that bring regional offices together help MDOT overcome geographical barriers of a large, decentralized DOT. 4.6.1 Notable Practice #1: Overmatch of LTAP Funding The Michigan LTAP provides a different suite of services and training to transportation staff of Michigan municipalities and private-sector engineers. The LTAP is not a component of the DOT, and is located at Michigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula. Like every LTAP, the state DOT functions as the grant administrator and provider of matching funds. The LTAP receives the $150,000 allocated to each state’s LTAP from the federal government and exceeds the required 50–50 match, providing $250,000 to $400,000 of Surface Transportation Program funds. Michigan Tech also provides approximately $215,000 in matching funds. Thus, the LTAP has 76% of its funding from non-federal sources. MDOT, the Michigan LTAP, and Michigan’s local agencies work together to develop the work plan for the LTAP. While the agencies do not share costs, they do share resources and com- munication outlets. For example, MDOT employees are made aware of LTAP offerings and the LTAP disseminates information on MDOT webinars to its entire network of local transporta- tion employees.

Case Examples 47 4.6.2 Notable Practice #2: Intern to Hire Program To address workforce pipeline challenges and plan for future needs, MDOT implements internship and co-op programs, including ones that encourage veterans as well as students at historically black college and universities (HBCUs) to learn as an intern at MDOT. Funding for MDOT employee workforce development and planning originates from scattered sources. The variety of internships for veterans, young people, and people from specific underrepresented demographic groups all come from unique funding sources dedicated to the targeted recipients. Most of this money is federal and has very specific requirements for both the interns and the type of program. While these programs are not in direct collaboration with the HBCUs or other organizations, they have helped to diversify the incoming workforce. MDOT looks to match its internship pool with available entry-level openings, giving preference to people who have completed internships. MDOT also partners with local universities such as Ferris State and Michigan State for survey- ing, GIS, and facilitation training. These programs (and others) may be better used if there was a comprehensive list and centralized location where MDOT employees could explore available training opportunities.

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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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