The challenges of running inclusive and diverse organizations apply to airports of all types and sizes. As recipients of federal funds, airports are required to administer a federal program that seeks to provide equal access for participation in airport related business opportunities. Likewise, many airports are also obligated to do so under state and local programs. There are indicators that many airports are already taking proactive steps to address these issues and are unlocking the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce. These programs provide benefits to the airport and surrounding communities, but there has not been a comprehensive benefit-cost analysis for diversity contracting programs and its impact on the workforce.
Airport specific research is needed to provide guidance for identifying and calculating benefits and costs of business and workforce diversity programs. Understanding and communicating the economic impact on airports and surrounding communities can benefit both airport operators and stakeholders.
The objective of this research is to develop guidance to assist airport operators and various stakeholders at airports of all types and sizes that (1) identifies and quantifies the benefits, costs, and the regional economic impact of diversity contracting for airport businesses to be coupled with a related tool(s); and (2) correlates diversity and inclusion challenges with best practices to mitigate those challenges in airport workforce programs.
The guidance for the diversity contracting initiatives for airport businesses should include, but not be limited to:
- An overview of federal regulations (i.e., 49 CFR Part 23 and 26);
- A sampling of non-federal diversity contracting program for airport businesses methodologies and outcomes;
- A reference to the case studies presented in ACRP Report 126: A Guidebook for Increasing Diverse and Small Business Participation in Airport Buinsess Opportunities and an update on their status;
- Expanded case studies to include non-FAA Part 139 airports examples;
- Effective outreach strategies to increase awareness of airport contracting programs;
- Identification of effective, specific steps to enhance inclusion and diversity in airport contracting opportunities;
- An introduction of the tool (i.e., an executive summary) and its functionality and steps for implementation; and
- A glossary of terms and appendix of industry resources and references.
The tool(s) should be designed, at a minimum, to:
- Use an intuitive interface for data collection and reporting on the following topics of diversity contracting initiatives:
- Stakeholder engagement;
- Costs (direct and indirect);
- Benefits (tangible and intangible);
- Risk factors; and
- Impacts (economic and social).
- Measure outputs and outcomes of such initiatives in the following manner:
- Participating stakeholders in diversity program efforts;
- Comparing direct and indirect costs;
- Reporting on (tangible and) intangible benefits;
- Analyzing risk for the costs and benefits to both the airport and its community; and
- Influencing factors that impact the community and economy with or without diversity programs.
The guidance for the challenges and best practices in enhancing airport workforce diversity should include, but not be limited to:
- Effective, specific steps to enhance inclusion and diversity;
- Recruiting and hiring practices;
- Talent development and retention;
- Succession planning;
- Training and educational opportunities;
- Encouraging non-traditional employees;
- Response to acts of discrimination; and
- The potential benefits of a diverse workforce through outreach.
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 minimum:
1. An comparative outline of published and current research that will demonstrate how this research will not be redundant and will enhance prior research (see Special Note A);
2. A preview of the framework of a tool(s) to include a listing of queries to be used and how it has been/may be validated (i.e., beta tested); and
3. An interim report that (a) describes work done in early tasks with an updated work plan for remaining tasks; (b) a detailed outline of the final guidance document of diversity contracting initiatives for airport businesses and an initial list of challenges and best practices in airport workforce programs; and (c) a demo of the tool(s) 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 guidance document that addresses the requirements in the objective for diversity contracting initiatives for airport businesses with its associated tool(s), along with the challenges and best practices for enhancing airport workforce diversity programs;
2. An executive summary that can be used as a basis for a presentation or marketing tool to demonstrate the value of the research;
3. A contractor’s final report that documents the methodology of the entire research effort, including any background information and the research team’s recommendation of research needs and priorities for additional related research; and
4. A stand-alone technical memorandum titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products.” (See Special Note J.)
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 these publications and or resources will be discussed or linked into the final publication as appropriate, including but not limited to: ACRP Report 126: A Guidebook for Increasing Diverse and Small Business Participation in Airport Business Opportunities, and ACRP Project 06-04, "Identifying and Evaluating Airport Workforce Requirements.”
B. The proposer should demonstrate an understanding of (i) the intent of the federal DBE laws and regulations; (ii) the role of disparity studies; (iii) airport workforce challenges; and (iv) airport diversity programs that are driven by good business practices (voluntary) vs. those that are required by law (mandatory).
C. The proposer’s team should include persons with expertise in (1) federal regulations pertaining to airport business diversity contracting and (2) airport workforce programs.
D. Proposers are encouraged to look beyond the airport industry for comparative analyses.
E. A strategic priority for ACRP is to assure 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 2019 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Proposers may include this cost in their proposed project budget.
F. 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.
G. 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.
H. 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.
I. 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.
J. 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.
K. 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.
L. 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.
M. 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.