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

Appendix D: Focus Group Agenda

NOTE: This collection is voluntary and replies will be confidential. The information will be used to report on training and certification options for right-of-way and other public sector real estate service providers, and to assess the market need for the establishment of a new certification program to develop a qualified workforce to assist agencies and private sector organizations operating under the Uniform Act. This focus group will take a maximum of 90 minutes. Please note that an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 2125-0590, which expires on April 30, 2008.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Real Estate Services, as lead agency for the Uniform Act, has commissioned a study to examine and report upon training and certification options for public sector real estate professionals and to assess the market need for the establishment of a new certification program which would have as a focus the development of a qualified workforce to assist agencies and private sector organizations operating under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act (Uniform Act). As part of this project, FHWA is seeking information from public sector real estate professionals concerning their sponsorship of existing training, use of existing training offerings, perceptions on the needs for additional training, and perceptions about the value of a proposed Uniform Act certification program. This focus group discussion is a key component of this information collection effort.

For purposes of this research study, we are defining public sector real estate professionals to be public agency or private sector real estate staff who are required to comply with state, federal and local laws and regulations, when valuing and acquiring real estate and/or causing displacement of residential, business and farm occupants under the threat of eminent domain. Public sector real estate courses are classes focused specifically on topics related to elements of the Uniform Act or the specifics of public sector real estate work and not general real estate courses.

I. Perceptions about Existing Public Sector Real Estate Training

  1. Who delivers current public sector or other real estate training (NHI, IRWA, other organizations, etc.) that your staff attends or is considering attending?

  2. What method(s) are used to deliver the current training (classroom, on-line, etc.)? Which method(s) does your staff prefer?

  3. How would you rate the quality of the training currently available from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) and the reason for this rating?

  4. How would you rate the return on investment to your organization of the training currently available from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) and what are the reason(s) for this rating?

  5. Who approves training in your organization and what is the process for getting approval to attend a class?

II. Level of Participation in Current Training Offerings

  1. Are your agency's staff members required to attend a certain amount of public sector or other real estate specific training annually (or over some other period)?

  2. How many staff attended Uniform Act or other public sector real estate training in the last 12 months? What percentage of total real estate staff in your organization does this represent?

  3. Who approves training in your organization and what is the process for getting approval to attend a class?

  4. What is the approximate annual training budget of your group (if known)? What is the total number of real estate professionals that this training budget is intended to cover?

  5. What was the last public sector real estate course you personally attended? On a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), how would you rate this course and why?

III. Agency Training Requirements

  1. Do the current public sector real estate training courses that are available adequately address your organization's needs? Why or why not?

  2. What other training courses (topics) would you like to see offered?

  3. What mediums (distance learning, classroom, etc.) are most preferable for new training courses and why?

IV. Value of a Professional Certification

  1. Do you think a potential public sector real estate professional certification should be education based only, experienced based or a combination of both? How much work experience should be required? Should a capstone examination be required?

  2. What type of courses/skills or other qualifications would you recommend be part of a professional Uniform Act certification?

  3. Whom do you think would be best positioned to administer this type of certification? Why?

  4. What is your perception on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) of the potential value of a public sector real estate or Uniform Act related professional certification? What is the rationale for the rating selected?

  5. On a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), how valuable do you think your agency's staff would find a public sector real estate certification? What is the rationale for the rating selected?

  6. On a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), how likely do you think your agency's staff would be to pursue a public sector real estate certification if offered? Why?

  7. Would a public sector real estate certification if offered influence your hiring process (i.e. Would having the certification provide an advantage for a candidate over a candidate without the certification)? If yes, for what levels in the organization (entry level only or other levels) would having a certification be an advantage for a candidate.

  8. Who in your agency is responsible for certifying compliance with governing Uniform Act and other requirements and would their comfort level be enhanced if responsible real estate staff had public sector real estate training and/or held a certification related thereto?

V. Wrap-up

  1. Are there other issues related to the availability of public sector real estate training and/or a potential Uniform Act Certification that you would like to discuss?
Updated: 04/02/2013
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