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|Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 74 · No. 1 > National Highway Institute(NHI)|
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-10-005
The National Highway Institute (NHI)
901 N. Stuart Street, Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22203
by Amanda Moss
NHI Celebrates 40 Years of Service
When the National Highway Institute (NHI) first opened its doors in 1970, it was a small operation with a handful of employees who completed every course registration, every scheduling arrangement, and every certificate by hand. Understandably, the menu of courses was slim. Fast forward to 2010: NHI now regularly collaborates with partners across the transportation industry, both nationally and internationally, to offer a catalog that has grown to include hundreds of courses in 16 broad categories, including more than 50 distance learning courses that capitalize on the latest Web technologies.
"NHI's mission hasn't changed; the organization has just expanded in new directions to meet new challenges and opportunities," says NHI Training Director Rick Barnaby. NHI credits its continual growth over the past 40 years to two key elements: development of industry partnerships and adoption of new technologies.
Collaborating for Greater Success
NHI pursues strategic partnerships that enhance and attest to the quality of its training. For example, NHI is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) as an authorized provider of continuing education units (CEUs). As an authorized provider, NHI can offer CEUs for its courses that qualify under the American National Standards Institute/IACET 1-2007 Standard, which "gives them validity as high-quality trainings," says NHI Instructor Liaison Carolyn Eberhard.
NHI also forges close relationships with internal FHWA groups, such as the Resource Center, and external groups, such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, State departments of transportation, and university transportation centers. Because of the global nature of transportation today, NHI also reaches beyond the Nation's borders to develop relationships with transportation professionals around the world. In fact, for more than 20 years, NHI and FHWA's Office of International Programs have collaborated to provide training resources, briefings on training processes, and Web-based training to dozens of countries that include Iraq, Korea, and Kuwait.
"NHI recognizes that it is part of a bigger community" and that these partners have "the same vision of delivering knowledge," says Joe Toole, former associate administrator of FHWA's Office of Professional and Corporate Development (currently the associate administrator for safety). "NHI is stronger when aligned with these partners."
Advancing with Technology
In addition to expanded partnerships, NHI has evolved through the adoption and adaptation of new technologies. Beginning in the 1990s, NHI saw major operational changes due to computer technology. In 1992, NHI launched its Course Management and Training System, a computer program that stores information about NHI courses, including development milestones, attendance data, and contract funding levels.
In the late 1990s, NHI launched its Web site, providing customers quick and easy access to the entire catalog and an array of other training-related information. In addition, with the more recent launch of the NHI Store, members of the transportation community and the public can order copies of training materials online at www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/training/nhistore.aspx.
On the training delivery front, NHI launched its first Web-based training in 2003. Web-based training is a lower cost, self-study option that enables participants to learn at their own pace wherever they can access the Internet. Soon after, NHI launched Web-conference training, in which participants join live training online at a set time. These Web-based options give NHI the ability to reach more people, more efficiently.
Perhaps NHI's most notable accomplishment in its 40-year presence is the change it has inspired within the transportation community. "NHI's work has resulted in changes—the way people design bridges, the way people build safety into our roads, the way they involve the public in transportation decisions, and much more," says Toole. "All of these advancements have improved our Nation's roadways, and NHI has played a significant role in making that happen."
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Amanda Moss is a contractor for NHI.
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