The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 49-10 [Active (Synthesis)]

Transportation Workforce Planning and Development Strategies
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 6/2/2017 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Research Agency: ENO
Principal Investigator: Robert Puentes
Effective Date: 10/13/2017
Fiscal Year: 2017

Final Scope

The objective of the study is to synthesize the current state of practice associated with the implementation of surface transportation workforce planning and development strategies. A special effort will be made to identify strategies to help build career pathways in surface transportation including but not limited to young adults, second career professionals, veterans, and encore careerists. Surface transportation for the purposes of this project would include motorized (e.g. automobiles, trucks, buses, rail cars) and non-motorized (e.g. cycling and walking) modes.

An underlying aim of the synthesis would be to serve as a document that would help transportation stakeholder groups ensure that workforce planning and development is:
a) well understood in terms of strengths, challenges, needs, and the opportunity – within the industry and among stakeholders;
b) elevated to a pressing public policy level that recognizes the direct links between a well-prepared agile transportation workforce, an effective and efficient transportation system, and the health of every sector of our economy;
c) recognized as a critical source of good jobs and careers that are well distributed geographically across the U.S.;
d) advanced most effectively through building linkages and coalitions between elected officials and key stakeholders in industry, labor, government, and academia; and
e) recognized as the most effective tool to address key enterprise risks regarding workforce sustainability

The synthesis will seek to identify narratives, current practices and lessons learned in the following areas (note this is not an all-inclusive list):

(1) Implementation:
• What initiatives and strategies have been implemented?
• How were the initiatives and strategies implemented? What were the intended objectives and were they achieved?
• Who in the workforce was to benefit and what core competencies and skills sets (if any) were addressed?
• What resources were leveraged to implement these programs ( partnerships, grants, etc)?

(2) Impacts:
• What are the costs and benefits of employing such workforce strategies?
• What are the direct costs/ indirect?

(3) Diversity and Inclusion

(4) Considerations:
• Demographic or socioeconomic characteristics of the transportation workforce (current and expected)
• Financial, e.g. securing the funds needed to implement the workforce strategy
• Organizational, e.g. collaborating with other agencies with similar workforce needs, organizational culture and climate, interagency collaboration, Internal biases
• Technological, e.g. computer skills, advanced technologies and abilities of the workforce
• Safety, e.g. safety concerns related to the use of innovative technology applications

The synthesis will also identify:
• potential changes in workforce needs as demographics of the workforce shift over time; and
• use of social media and other avenues of communication to acquire good employees

Information will be gathered by literature review, and a survey of state DOTs, relevant federal agencies and LTAPs. Five case examples on current practices will also be included in the synthesis. These should highlight successes, challenges and lessons learned. Gaps in information and future research needs will also be covered.

Information Sources (do not limit to only the ones below):
• National Transportation Workforce Summit Summary Report, Consortium of University Transportation Centers, Washington D.C., 2013.
• Wittwer and Toledo-Duran. Report on 21st Century Workforce Development Summit. University of Wisconsin, Madison, National Center for Freight & Infrastructure Research & Education, May 2009.
• Simpson. Community College Contribution to Transportation Workforce Development. Department of Political Science, Howard University, April 17, 2007.
• NCHRP Synthesis 323: Recruiting and Retaining Individuals in State Transportation Agencies. 2003.
• Rahn, Toole, et al. European Practices in Transportation Workforce Development. USDOT FHWA. June 2003.
• National Cooperative Highway Research Program. Recruiting and Retaining Employees in State Transportation Agencies.
• NCHRP Synthesis 503: leveraging technologies for Transportation Agency Workforce Development and Training, 2017
• Diewald. The Workforce Challenge: Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Qualified Workers for Transportation and Transit Agencies. TR News, No. 229. 2003.
• Coyner. Education Tomorrow’s Transportation Workforce: The Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Futures Program. TR News 200, pp. 17-24. 1999.
• National Transportation Career Pathways Initiative:
o http://www.scag.ca.gov/Documents/2017StudentProjectShowcase.pdf
o http://csulb.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=1afdf9f31e7f4e02bd7c0b9854da724a

TRB Staff
Mariela Garcia-Colberg
Phone: 202-334-2361
Email: mgarciacolberg@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: October 13, 2017, Washington, DC
Teleconference with Consultant: November 6, 2017, 1:00 p.m.
Second Panel: July 22, 2018, Washington, DC

Topic Panel
William Barnard, Maryland State Highway Administration
Timothy E. Barnett, Alabama DOT
Victoria Beale, Ohio DOT
Jason J. Bittner, Applied Research Associates
Joey Collins, Seattle Pacific University
Amanda Holland, Alaska DOT and Public Facilities
Michelle A. Tucker, California DOT
Ewa Flom, Federal Highway Administration
Francine Shaw Whitson, Federal Highway Administration
James W. Bryant, Jr., Transportation Research Board


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