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FHWA Office of Real Estate Services Research Results: Public Sector Real Estate Certification Needs Analysis

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. I. Project Overview
    1. Project Background
    2. Project Scope and Objectives
  3. II. Project Approach and Methodology
    1. Surveys of State Licensing Agencies
    2. Inventory of Schools, Institutions, and Courses
    3. Interviews of Federal Agency Personnel
    4. Web-based Market Needs Survey
    5. Focus Groups
    6. Market Value of a Uniform Act Certification
    7. Components of a Public Sector Real Estate Certification
    8. Availability of courses to meet the requirements of a potential certification program
    9. Feedback about existing public sector real estate courses and expectations about any new courses to be developed
    10. Implementation considerations related to a potential certification program
  4. III. Recommended Next Steps
    1. Establishing a multidisciplinary stakeholder group to oversee these recommended next steps
    2. Developing a detailed curriculum for the certification program
    3. Defining a multi-year implementation strategy and supporting detailed work plan
    4. Establishing a marketing program
  5. Appendix A: Federal Agency Interview Questionnaire
    1. Perceptions about Existing Public Sector Real Estate Training
    2. Level of Participation in Current Training Offerings
    3. Agency Training Requirements
    4. Agency Training Requirements
    5. Wrap-up
  6. Appendix B: Summary of Federal Agency Interviews
    1. Interview Participants
    2. Perceptions about Existing Right of Way Specific Training
    3. Level of Participation in Current Training Offerings
    4. Agency Training Requirements
    5. Value of a Professional Certification
  7. Appendix C: Market Survey
  8. Appendix D: Focus Group Agenda
    1. Perceptions about Existing Public Sector Real Estate Training
    2. Level of Participation in Current Training Offerings
    3. Agency Training Requirements
    4. Value of a Professional Certification
    5. Wrap-up
  9. Appendix E: Focus Group Notes
    1. May 18, 2005 - Crown Plaza Hotel, Austin, Texas
    2. May 26, 2005- NASSIF Building, Washington, DC
    3. May 27, 2005 - Maryland DOT District 4 Brooklandville, MD
Top of Page

I. Executive Summary

The public sector real estate work force consists of those staff working for Federal, State, and Local Public Agencies or private consultants who work with or under The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended (Uniform Act). The Uniform Act provides the framework, rules and procedures under which private property is acquired for public benefit on projects funded all or in part by Federal funds.

This public sector real estate work force is currently facing a number of challenges. These challenges include an increasing emphasis on outsourcing by public agencies, leading to the need for private sector firms to develop stronger capabilities; an aging work force; a desire to elevate the standards of the public sector real estate profession and a general lack of understanding and respect for the roles, responsibilities, and significance of real estate service activities within many Federal, State, and Local Public Agencies.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in its role as the lead agency for the Uniform Act, believes one of the ways to address these challenges is through expanded education and training programs that are linked to Uniform Act-based learning requirements. One component of such an education program is a professional certification program for public sector real estate. To assess the feasibility of defining and implementing such a professional certification program for individuals working with or under The Uniform Act, FHWA commissioned a study in the fall of 2003 to evaluate the market value of this type of professional certification.

This report summarizes the results of that research study. The study consisted of a number of steps. These steps included an inventory of current real estate licensing requirements nationally; a survey of available public sector real estate courses; detailed interviews with a number of Federal agency staff to assist in designing a web-based survey for a broader audience within the public sector real estate community; the conduct of this web-based survey and a series of three (3) focus groups to collect follow-up information to supplement the results of the web-based survey.

Through these research steps, a number of key findings were identified, including:

Based on the strong acceptance within the public sector real estate community for the concept of a public sector real estate professional certification, the study recommended a number of follow-on actions to complete the process of defining the certification program and establish a detailed implementation plan for launching the certification program. These recommended next steps include:

It is also recommended that a multidisciplinary stakeholder group be established, under the guidance of FHWA for at least the interim period, to oversee these recommendations. This stakeholder group should include a mix of individuals who perform various functions within the public sector real estate community such as appraisal, acquisition and relocation, It should also be representative of the various constituencies and stakeholders of a potential certification program including Federal Agencies, State Agencies, Local Public Agencies, private sector consultants, national associations, educational institutions and other training providers.

Updated: 09/05/2014
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