The airport environment is facing a shortage of individuals who can lead, guide, manage, and carry out airport-centric initiatives to support the aviation industry. In an environment where attracting, inspiring, and developing the airport workforce is becoming increasingly challenging, a vision for talent planning is needed. This is a critical endeavor as we consider the negative economic impact of potentially diminished aviation activities in our communities.
Today’s talent pool is looking for a dynamic career path. The aviation sector is filled with many vibrant career opportunities, and the challenge is to develop talent cultivation techniques and strategies that align the talent pool with the evolving needs of airport organizations.
Previous research in the area of workforce development has created guidebooks and reports that, while helpful to the industry, should be augmented with readily implementable solutions. Different from a “best practices” guidebook, a “playbook” uses experiential and inspiring techniques to energize airport employees to embed talent cultivation within their organizational cultures.
The objective of this research is to develop a “playbook,” for airport leaders and managers, that will provide inspiring, tested, and readily implementable techniques to enhance talent cultivation and knowledge transfer* within airport organizations. The playbook should be designed for quick, easy application with key talent planning ideas that can be used by airports of different types and sizes, addressing all levels of the organization from entry level through leadership. Attention should be given to strategies and techniques that focus on an organization’s culture and workplace environment by addressing, but not limited to, the following:
- Integration of talent cultivation into the airport’s vision and strategy;
- Alignment of organizational objectives and individual’s goals;
- Professional development and career growth, particularly,
- Cross utilization and lateral movement,
- Knowledge transfer and sharing, and
- Succession preparation and planning;
- Job satisfaction, enrichment, engagement, and fulfillment;
- Availability of rewards and perks;
- Outreach and communication of the employee value proposition;
- Impact of airport governance on talent cultivation;
- Consideration of diversity and inclusion;
- Competitiveness within the airport industry and with other industries for talent; and
- Identification of emerging trends and future talent roles.
* Note: Knowledge transfer refers to measurable, on-the-job transfer of both skills and training to keep a workforce prepared, productive, innovative, and competitive.
The resulting playbook should include approaches that are tactical, strategic, and structural in nature.
The ACRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are asked to develop and include a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective. The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task in detail.
The research plan should include appropriate interim deliverables, for ACRP approval, that include at a minimum:
1. A literature review of relevant material within and outside the airport environment (see Special Note A.);
2. Gap assessment to identify challenges and barriers to talent cultivation and professional growth;
3. Development of strategies and tools to address talent cultivation including proposed case studies and rationale for their consideration;
4. Proposed quantitative and qualitative metrics to measure the effectiveness of implemented techniques and strategies;
5. An interim report that describes work done in early tasks with an updated work plan for remaining tasks and a detailed outline with description of envisioned strategies and techniques presented in the final playbook that will require ACRP approval.
The research plan should include other appropriate checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including at a minimum (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the Notice to Proceed and (2) one face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting, as well as web-enabled teleconferences tied to the panel review and ACRP approval of other interim deliverables deemed appropriate.
The final deliverables will include: (1) a playbook that meets the research objective to include approaches that are tactical, strategic, and structural in nature; (2) a presentation to be used to communicate findings to airport industry; and (3) a stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products.” (See Special Note H.)
Note: Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, there should be 3 months for ACRP review and comments and for contractor preparation of the final deliverables. For budgeting purposes, proposers should assume that ACRP will provide access to web-enabled teleconference services. ACRP will pay panel members’ travel costs for the face-to-face meeting. Proposers should assume that the meeting will be held in Washington, DC.
A. ACRP publications and other relevant industry-related resources should be consulted when conducting this research. It is expected that portions of the following publications and/or resources will complement and enhance but not duplicate the research efforts:
- ACRP Research Report 186: Guidebook on Building Airport Workforce Capacity;
- ACRP Web-Only Document 28: Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements;
- ACRP Report 75: Airport Leadership Development Program;
- ACRP Synthesis 18: Aviation Workforce Development Practices; and
- ACRP Synthesis 49: Helping New Maintenance Hires Adapt to the Airport Operating Environment.
B. Research for this playbook should be comprehensive throughout the organizational structure and not specifically the HR function.
C. A strategic priority for ACRP is to ensure quality in its research projects. ACRP therefore encourages the principal investigator of the successful proposer to participate in a 1-day symposium on ACRP Research in Progress that will be held during the Transportation Research Board’s 2020 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Proposers may include this cost in their proposed project budget.
D. Airports have received many surveys in response to ACRP projects. In an effort to ensure an adequate response rate and collection of information, proposers may consider the use of focus groups, Internet/web-based technologies, social networking sites, and industry conferences or other techniques that may be appropriate.
E. Proposals are evaluated by the ACRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively very knowledgeable in the problem area. Selection of a proposal is made by the project panel considering the following factors: (1) the proposer's demonstrated understanding of the problem; (2) the merit of the proposed research approach and experiment design; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the plan for ensuring application of results; (5) the proposer's plan for participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises--small firms owned and controlled by minorities or women; and (6) the adequacy of the facilities.
Note: The proposer's plan for participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises should be incorporated in Item 12 of the proposal.
F. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the brochure, "Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals" (http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/crp/docs/ProposalPrep.pdf). Proposals also should include a breakdown of all costs (e.g., wages, indirect costs, travel, materials, and total) for each task using Figures 5 and 6 in the brochure. Please note that TRB Cooperative Research Program subawards (selected proposers are considered subawards to the National Academy of Sciences, the parent organization of TRB) must comply with 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. These requirements include a provision that proposers without a “federally” Negotiated Indirect Costs Rate Agreement (NICRA) shall be subject to a maximum allowable indirect rate of 10% of Modified Total Direct Costs. Modified Total Direct Costs include all salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract. Modified Total Direct Costs exclude equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract in excess of $25,000.
G. Item 4(c), "Anticipated Research Results," in each proposal must include an Implementation Plan that describes activities to promote application of the product of this research. It is expected that the implementation plan will evolve during the project; however, proposals must describe, as a minimum, the following: (a) the "product" expected from the research, (b) the audience or "market" for this product, (c) a realistic assessment of impediments to successful implementation, (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in applying the research product, (e) the activities necessary for successful implementation, and (f) the criteria for judging the progress and consequences of implementation.
H. The required technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products” should (a) provide recommendations on how to best put the research findings/products into practice; (b) identify possible institutions that might take leadership in applying the research findings/products; (c) identify issues affecting potential implementation of the findings/products and recommend possible actions to address these issues; and (d) recommend methods of identifying and measuring the impacts associated with implementation of the findings/products. Implementation of these recommendations is not part of the research project and, if warranted, details of these actions will be developed and implemented in future efforts.
I. Item 5 in the proposal, "Qualifications of the Research Team," must include a section labeled "Disclosure." Information relevant to the ACRP's need to ensure objectivity and to be aware of possible sources of significant financial or organizational conflict of interest in conducting the research must be presented in this section of the proposal. For example, under certain conditions, ownership of the proposing agency, other organizational relationships, or proprietary rights and interests could be perceived as jeopardizing an objective approach to the research effort, and proposers are asked to disclose any such circumstances and to explain how they will be accounted for in this study. If there are no issues related to objectivity, this should be stated.
J. Copyrights - All data, written materials, computer software, graphic and photographic images, and other information prepared under the contract and the copyrights therein shall be owned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The contractor and subcontractors will be able to publish this material for non-commercial purposes, for internal use, or to further academic research or studies with permission from TRB Cooperative Research Programs. The contractor and subcontractors will not be allowed to sell the project material without prior approval by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. By signing a contract with the National Academy of Sciences, contractors accept legal responsibility for any copyright infringement that may exist in work done for TRB. Contractors are therefore responsible for obtaining all necessary permissions for use of copyrighted material in TRB’s Cooperative Research Programs publications. For guidance on TRB’s policies on using copyrighted material please consult Section 5.4, “Use of Copyrighted Material,” in the Procedural Manual for Contractors.
K. If the research approach includes human subjects testing, proposers should be aware that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has its own Institutional Review Board (IRB) that must review and approve the results of the proposing agency’s IRB process. It should be assumed that this step will require several weeks.