The agency is faced with several emerging opportunities and challenges related to our evolving workforce. Baby boomers are retiring. Current staff have a gap between their current skills and those that will be needed for the future. We are competing with the private sector for workers with specialized and emerging skillsets. Workers that are filling positions vacated by tenured employees may have the technical skills required, but lack the institutional knowledge and documentation to seamlessly transition into the agency and perform their job responsibilities.
Technology Advancement.Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and other emerging technologies are creating a gap between our current skills and future needs. Our current staff don’t have the skills required to engineer, manage, analyze and operate an autonomous system or perform the data analysis required to make data-formed planning and programming decisions. Workforce Evolution.With the increase in workforce transitions and retirements, we are challenged to provide an attractive work environment for a new generation of workers with increased expectations for alternative work arrangements and other benefits that the public sector can provide, at the same time that public sector benefits are declining. We are also challenged by the loss of institutional knowledge when tenured employees transition to new jobs or retire. Our documentation of processes and succession planning is inadequate. Shift in Role and Focus.As the organization shifts away from highway construction to focus on system maintenance and operations goals, we need to develop a management system and workforce that can be resilient through change and quickly adjust to new strategies, goals and objectives. This includes finding new ways to work together regardless of organizational boundaries and changes.
What Capabilities Are Needed?
Aligning Skills to Needs.agencies must put processes in place to identify and address current and likely future gaps in workforce skills. Enhanced tracking of skillsets and use of creative strategies for providing access to specialized skills (e.g. centers of excellence) may be part of establishing this capability. Attracting and Retaining.agencies must strengthen their capability to attract and retain the next generation of employees. This may require an overhaul to recruiting strategies as well as staff management, recognition and reward systems. Technology Adoption.to meet expectations of newer, “born digital” employees, agencies will need to improve their capability to adopt and integrate new technologies supporting process automation, information sharing and collaboration.
NCHRP 08-125: A Comprehensive Study of Future Competencies for Transportation Planners
The objective of the project is to (a) identify competencies, capabilities, and knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed by transportation planning professionals serving state transportation agencies and other organizations with similar responsibilities and interests within the United States; and (b) develop talent selection and performance management tools for use by transportation agency management and human resource staff to recruit, retain, evaluate, and develop such professionals. These tools could include position descriptions, education and training curricula, critical competency profiles, evaluation metrics, and others.
NCHRP Synthesis 362 Training Programs, Policies, and Practices (2006)
As part of TRB’s NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 36-07, Synthesis 362: Training Programs, Processes, Policies, and Practices examines the program components required to have a sound set of policies, processes, and procedures for planning, developing, implementing, funding, and evaluating state department of transportation training, development, and education programs. The report provides background on the issues related to the need for robust training, education, and development programs; the administrative infrastructure to sustain robust programs. It summarizes the results of a survey of state DOTs and contains a discussion of successful practices from both industry and government, and insights acquired from thought leader interviews.