U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
|Funding Construction Career Days Initiative and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)/ Transportation and Civil Engineering (TRAC) Careers Outreach Program|
||Office of Primary Interest
||March 4, 2004
- What is the purpose of this Notice? This Notice advises Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Division Offices that they are allowed to authorize States to use funds made available by Section 140(b), Title 23, United States Code (U.S.C.), to support Construction Career Days (CCD) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)/Transportation and Civil Engineering (TRAC) programs.
- Does this Notice cancel an existing FHWA Notice? Yes. This Notice cancels FHWA Notice N 4720.9, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)/Transportation and Civil Engineering (TRAC) Careers Outreach Programs, dated September 16, 1997.
- What is the background of this Notice? Because of demographic patterns and trends, it is imperative that FHWA and the States support outreach efforts to attract students to careers in engineering, engineering technology, and construction skills. Both the AASHTO/TRAC and CCD efforts have proven their value in informing elementary and high school students about engineering and mathematics courses and attracting them to careers in highway construction.
- What is the AASHTO/TRAC Program?
- The AASHTO member departments' participation in and deployment of the AASHTO/TRAC program to primary and secondary schools provides experiences to students that expose them to careers in transportation. The TRAC initiative is a hands-on education program designed for use in science, mathematics, and social studies classes. The TRAC program connects high school students to the work world and exposes them to careers in transportation, including highway construction.
- While civil engineering will remain a core discipline in the TRAC program, the advent of Intelligent Transportation Systems and other new and emerging technologies will require the transportation industry to attract larger numbers of computer operators, programmers, systems engineers, telecommunications specialists, and environmentalists, as well as traditional disciplines involved in the highway construction-related skilled crafts.
- There is a need to provide the States with an ongoing source of funding to initiate and administer the TRAC and CCD programs, develop participants' interests, and ensure a diverse pool of applicants for highway construction skills.
- What has been the experience of the AASHTO/TRAC Program and what can be done to increase its effectiveness?
- For a number of years, AASHTO, the FHWA, and the Transportation Research Board have recognized the need to diversify the transportation workforce and ensure a well-qualified applicant pool. The national trend of declining matriculation rates in civil engineering continues to concern AASHTO members. The need for more effective outreach, recruitment, and diversity in transportation professions and construction crafts can be expected to increase.
- The delivery system offered by the TRAC program is tailored to meet the needs of a specific age group which can provide experience, exposure, and factual information to students enabling them to consider both professional engineering and highway construction skilled crafts as career options. As an outreach tool, few programs have the potential reach of the TRAC program if adequately funded and fully implemented.
- What is the CCD Initiative?
- The shrinking applicant pool for construction workers concerns employers, union officials, State highway agencies, and the FHWA.
- The CCD initiative has demonstrated its value in pulling together contractors, academia, State and Federal agencies, and others to expose high school students to the option of Highway Construction as a career alternative.
- The CCD is a public/private/academic initiative that brings together a diverse group of high-energy volunteers whose efforts assist the industry in competing for members of a reduced potential labor pool.
- Although time, equipment, and personnel are donated, some aspects of each CCD effort require a moderate amount of funding to ensure success.
- What has been our experience, and what can be done to increase the effectiveness of the CCD initiative?
- To date over 100,000 high school students in 22 States have been given "hands-on" experience at CCD sites.
- Students in the CCD initiative who were unsure or unaware of what career path they could take have become fascinated with the prospect of working in a craft that might evolve into a highway construction or highway construction-related career.
- Eventually, every State will experience construction labor shortages. The proven CCD approach of exposing high school students to crafts to which they can aspire is of great value. More States with more participants, volunteers, and supporters can ensure the CCD initiative's continued viability.
- How are the CCD and AASHTO/TRAC Programs funded?
- State transportation agencies may use funds authorized for On-the-Job Training by 23 U.S.C. §140(b) to be drawn down from their Bridge and Surface Transportation Program apportionments to initiate and administer the CCD and AASHTO/TRAC programs. However, funds made available for these purposes are subject to the statutory ceiling of ½ of 1 percent of funds apportioned to the State pursuant to 23 U.S.C. §140(b).
- The CCD and AASHTO/TRAC programs may use Federal funds for program activities and for the purchase and distribution of informational materials relating to the CCD and AASHTO/TRAC programs such as pamphlets, brochures, and bookmarks. However, Federal funds may not be used to pay stipends or to purchase promotional items such as pens, shirts, key chains, baseball caps, etc.
- Participating States are encouraged to provide a measure of cost sharing for the operation of the programs. Cost sharing may be in any form that would be needed for the programs including, but not limited to, funding, property, and service.
- What administrative actions are required in the CCD and AASHTO/TRAC Programs?
- Proposals and work statements from the States must be submitted to, reviewed, and approved by the responsible Division Administrator to obligate funds. The approval of a work statement will be the point of obligation.
- Performance and results of efforts funded by 140(b) optional funds are to be reported to the Division Administrator and decisions on continued funding should be based on the results obtained.
Mary E. Peters