About the Pilot

Overview/Mission

The Highway Construction Workforce Pilot establishes a collaborative partnership between the highway construction industry and state and local workforce systems to identify, train, and place workers in highway construction careers. Pilot initiatives are ongoing in six cities and six states across the country. These pilots will develop and evaluate methods to use this partnership to more effectively link highway construction occupational skills gaps and job needs with qualified workers. The Pilot will set a new standard for addressing employment needs in the highway construction industry.

The objectives of the Pilot are to:

  • Assess job opportunities and career pathways in the highway construction industry.
  • Identify, train, and place new workers into highway construction positions.
  • Upskill the current highway construction workforce to improve performance and retention.
  • Identify promising workforce development practices to share across the nation.

Need

America's highway system is continually undergoing repair, refurbishment and expansion. The growing deficit in the highway construction workforce compromises the industry's ability to deliver highway projects.

Per the Departments of Transportation, Education, and Labor, from 2012 to 2022 the transportation industry will need to hire approximately 4.6 million workers due to industry growth as well as occupational transfers, retirements, and other exits.1

To better understand this workforce challenge, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) surveyed its member companies in September 2015. The survey indicated that construction firms throughout the country are struggling to fill open positions. Many of these occupations - e.g., heavy equipment operators, cement masons, and iron workers - are essential to the highway construction industry. Contractors said they can fill 60 percent or less of these critical occupations.

Leading industry organizations have partnered to seek solutions

A joint committee of members from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AGC, and the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) studied the issue and released a position statement titled "Attracting, Developing and Training a Qualified Work Force."2

It is in the best interest of the transportation infrastructure community to encourage more individuals to pursue careers in this industry. It is critical to develop a skilled and diverse transportation work force across a broad range of both professional and skilled transportation careers.

These key national transportation organizations began working with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the US Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration to establish the Highway Construction Workforce Pilot. This provides a unique opportunity to unite all interested parties and collaboratively solve this urgent challenge.

Guidance

Use of Federal-aid State Core Program Funds for Training, Education and Workforce Development

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