FHWA Policy Memorandums - Office of Engineering

Information: Use of State Planning and Research (SP&R) Funds For Technician Certification Program Course Development 1/16/97
Director, Office of Engineering Refer to: HNG-21
Regional Administrators

The subject of technician certification has been an ongoing focus of the Office of Engineering. Technician certification, along with laboratory accreditation and quality control/quality assurance specifications, is part of a systematic approach to improve the quality of our Nation's highways. Recently, a technician certification workshop, sponsored by the National Quality Initiative, was held with our public and private partners in the highway industry in Arlington, Virginia, to bring national attention on the subject. The results of this workshop should be available by late Spring 1997

There have been several inquiries from our field offices about funding alternatives for course development of technician certification programs. We believe that training courses are instrumental in providing technicians with the necessary information to make informed decisions in their positions. To stimulate efforts nationally for the development of technician certification program courses, we are looking at ways to fund such efforts.

The Associate Administrator for Research and Development (R&D) has determined, in accordance with 23 U. S.C., Section 307 (c), that development of courses for training on engineering standards and construction materials, including evaluation and accreditation of inspection and testing, is eligible for funding under the 25 percent research portion of SP&R funds, as either a multi-State pooled-fund study or individual State R&D project. This determination includes course development for technician certification programs.

Pooled-fund efforts (i.e., those involving several States) may be approved for 100 percent SP&R funds by the Associate Administrator for R&D if it is determined that the interest of the Federal-aid highway program would be best served by decreasing or eliminating the non-Federal share. Such a proposal must be submitted to the Office of R&D with sufficient backgroundinformation of the effort. For further information or assistance with pooled-fund requests, please contact Mr. Chuck Niessner at (703) 285-2100. Individual State efforts would follow standard procedures for SP&R funds and utilize the normal 80/20 matching ratio.

Although the planning portion of SP&R funds cannot be used for developing such courses, both the planning and the research portions of SP&R funds also may be used for the actual training including tuition, travel and per diem at the normal 0/20 matching ratio.

If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact Patrick Bauer, P.E. of the Highway Operations Division at (202) 366-1554.

Gerald L. Eller

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