Strategic Workforce Development

What is Strategic Workforce Development?

The demand for highway construction, maintenance, and operations workers is growing while industry is experiencing a revolution of emerging technologies that will require new skills. To attract and retain workers in the contractors' workforce, new resources are available to help compete with other industries and demonstrate the value of a career in transportation.

An Industry and Public Workforce Collaboration

Government agencies, trade organizations, private agencies, and communities nationwide need new, collaborative approaches to meeting this challenge. The nation depends on the highway system, and the highway system depends on qualified workers.

Additionally, increasing the contractors' construction workforce can help communities thrive while solving one of today's most persistent national transportation problems. It also offers an opportunity to recruit minorities and women to jobs that can change their lives, and the lives of their families, for the better.

Benefits
Effective Solutions. Advancing the lessons learned through the highway construction workforce pilot offers the transformational ideas and support needed to fill the gaps in the workforce.

Proven Training. Training programs, practices, and tools from across the country are available to help plan workforce development activities.

Flexibility. Free materials are available to support workforce marketing efforts. Posters, flyers, mailer cards, and social media graphics can be customized with local contact information.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

NJ Advances Strategic Workforce Development

Stage of Innovation:
ASSESSMENT
(June 2022)

New Jersey is utilizing diverse strategies to develop the state's transportation workforce:

Apprenticeship Program.  Has an operations apprenticeship program that is currently in the implementation stage. NJDOT has a one-year training program that includes testing as trainees move through the system.

Professional Programs. NJDOT has expanded outreach to draw attention to its professional series positions by partnering with high schools, vocational-technical schools, colleges and universities, community organizations, and the Department of Labor; working with under-represented communities of interest; expanding its social media presence; and building its pipeline and knowledge base that allows growth into the journeyman title.

What's Next? 

In September 2021, NJDOT participated in an FHWA pilot, Let’s Go! Workshop. In this 2-day workshop, NJDOT participants developed a Mission Statement – “To create career opportunities for a diverse workforce in terms of disciplines, demographics, and career levels in order to meet the demands of the transportation skills of tomorrow".  The workshop participants defined a set of priority actions, including:  Industry Association Outreach; Goal, Measures, Timeline, Buy-In; Regular Meetings and Follow-up Actions; and College/University Outreach.

Since then, NJDOT has continued to seek partnerships with national and local organizations to support hiring efforts and to acquire best practice information. The NJDOT Civil Rights programs has sought to perform outreach in underserved communities and pursue a NJDOT leadership training effort. NJDOT is also exploring potential development of a training program for construction inspection/maintenance.

During this period, interviews were conducted with HR staff about early stages of institutionalizing an apprenticeship program. Engagement activities were held to facilitate connections with Industry Association and Higher Education Institutions (e.g., Union, Workforce Development Boards and County College).

The Strategic Workforce Development Working Group convened to formulate a Department-Wide Mentorship Program; identify Emerging Skillset needs with Partners; and continue Industry Association and College/University Outreach activities.  Research into best practices for identifying emerging skillsets and incorporating these considerations into mentoring programs could assist the advancement of this initiative.

Strategic Workforce Development: NEW & NOTEWORTHY

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development – Model Programs, Partnerships and Lessons from Oregon

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development – Model Programs, Partnerships and Lessons from Oregon

We spoke with representatives from Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI) to explore their roles and partnership in ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development:  An Interview with NJDOT’s Human Resources

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development: An Interview with NJDOT’s Human Resources

We spoke with Kelly Hutchinson, Director, Human Resources at NJDOT about ongoing and planned workforce development initiatives at NJDOT. ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ: An Interview with the IUOE Local 825

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ: An Interview with the IUOE Local 825

We spoke with Greg Lalevee, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 825. The organization collaborates with Hudson County Community College (HCCC) ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development:  An Interview with the Office of Apprenticeship, NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL)

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development: An Interview with the Office of Apprenticeship, NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL)

We spoke with Nick Toth, Director, New Jersey Office of Apprenticeship, NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development to learn about the State’s role in ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ:  An Interview with Hudson County Community College

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ: An Interview with Hudson County Community College

We spoke with Lori Margolin, the Associate Vice President for Continuing Education and Workforce Development at Hudson County Community College (HCCC) for her insights on ...
Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ:  An Interview with the Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey

Exploring Strategic Workforce Development in NJ: An Interview with the Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey

We spoke with Jill Schiff (Executive Director, Operations) and Darlene Regina (COO) of the Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey (ACCNJ) to hear their perspective ...

Virtual Public Involvement (VPI)

What is Virtual Public Involvement (VPI)?

Innovative virtual public involvement techniques provide State departments of transportation (DOTs), transit agencies, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), and rural transportation planning organizations (RTPOs) with a platform to inform the public and receive feedback. These strategies increase the number and variety of channels available to agencies for remotely disseminating information to the public and create efficiencies in how input is collected and considered, which can potentially accelerate planning and project development processes.

Encouraging Public Engagement

Public involvement is a critical component in the transportation decision-making process, allowing for meaningful consideration and input from interested individuals. As daily users of the transportation system, the public has useful opinions, insights, and observations to share with their State DOT and local agencies on the performance and needs of the transportation system or on specific projects. Early and strong public engagement has the potential to accelerate project delivery by helping identify and address public concerns early in the planning process, thereby reducing delays from previously unknown interests late in the project delivery process.

Nearly all State DOTs and most local agencies use websites to post information about their activities. With the increased use of social media tools and mobile applications, the public can access user-friendly features such as online videos, podcasts, crowdsourced maps, and other interactive forums to receive information and provide input.

Benefits

Efficiency and Low Cost. Virtual tools and platforms can be made accessible to communities efficiently, many at a lower cost than traditional public engagement methods.

Accelerated Project Delivery. Robust public engagement helps identify issues early in the project planning process, which reduces the need to revisit decisions.

Communication and Collaboration. Virtual public involvement can aid in establishing a common vision for transportation and ensure the opinions and needs of the public are understood and considered during transportation planning and project development.

Expanded Engagement. Virtual tools can facilitate inclusion of stakeholders who do not participate in traditional approaches to public involvement. Greater and more diverse engagement can improve project quality.

Learn more about this EDC-6 Innovation.

Virtual Public Involvement in NJ

Stage of Innovation:
DEMONSTRATION
(June 2022)

Collaboration. NJDOT has collaborated with the state's three MPOs to integrate VPI practices in all stages of capital project implementation, from concept development to construction.

Local Agency Advancement. New Jersey's counties and municipalities are using lessons learned from state efforts to increase their engagement with local stakeholders.

Expanding Reach. Transportation partners throughout the state have utilized VPI practices in a wide variety of projects, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This work has provided robust demonstration of expanded attendance to VPI online events. However, concerns still exist about documentation of virtual feedback versus that gained through in-person communications, as well as the issue of equity in reaching, and gaining insight, from a wide variety of participants including underserved and disadvantaged populations.

What's Next?

NJDOT and its partners are seeking to increase public engagement of various stakeholder groups. The Department plans to include VPI in its updated Public Involvement Action Plan. The agency understands that input through VPI is as important, and considered equal to, in-person input. VPI can enhance and increase access to many populations, particularly those who are underserved, but the need exists to strike a balance of in-person and virtual engagement.

Virtual Public Involvement (VPI): NEW & NOTEWORTHY 

Virtual Public Involvement Peer Exchanges and Video Case Studies

Virtual Public Involvement Peer Exchanges and Video Case Studies

Transportation agencies can increase meaningful public involvement in planning and project development by integrating virtual tools into their overall public involvement approach. FHWA has ...
Engaging Youth in Transportation Planning – NJ MPO Efforts Featured

Engaging Youth in Transportation Planning – NJ MPO Efforts Featured

The FHWA's EDC Newsletter of March 3rd featured the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority's creative efforts to engage youth in the transportation planning process during ...
Innovation Spotlight Interview: Virtual Public Involvement at NJDOT

Innovation Spotlight Interview: Virtual Public Involvement at NJDOT

At NJDOT, the COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges and opportunities for the agency’s public engagement efforts. This interview with NJDOT staff discusses how the need ...
NJ Transportation Agencies Featured for Their Innovative and Virtual Public Involvement Approaches

NJ Transportation Agencies Featured for Their Innovative and Virtual Public Involvement Approaches

FHWA promotes virtual public involvement and other innovative public involvement tools through its Every Day Counts-5 innovations. ...