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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-19-001     Date:  Autumn 2018
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-19-001
Issue No: Vol. 82 No. 3
Date: Autumn 2018

 

Hot Topic

by Victoria Peters

Partnering to Train Local and Tribal Transportation Agencies

Local government and Tribal transportation practitioners across the United States are responsible for about 80 percent of the Nation’s highway network, roughly 3.1 million miles (5 million kilometers) of roadway. These agencies continue to voice the concern that they have only limited financial resources to address the vast needs of these highway assets.

Budget concerns are not the only resource-related challenge pressing local and Tribal governments. The longstanding issues of training, retaining, and replacing dedicated employees are also a concern.

Building and maintaining the skills necessary to operate a highway system requires access to consistent, quality training, not only on foundational concepts but also on new and innovative technologies and practices.

In a recent survey on local agency needs by the Federal Highway Administration, county governments reported that 15 to 30 percent of their workforce is eligible to retire in the next 3 to 5 years—a trend prevalent across the transportation industry. Agencies shared stories about having to choose between outfitting their highway crews with new equipment and acquiring the needed training to address their workforce challenges.

Screenshot of AASHTO’s Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council (TC3) online training library.
Transportation practitioners with local and Tribal governments now have access the resources of AASHTO’s Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council (TC3) training library.

FHWA is seeking ways to ensure local and Tribal agencies can acquire the skills they need to maintain a strong transportation workforce and take advantage of the innovations of today.

As a major step in that effort, FHWA purchased access for local and Tribal governments to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council (TC3) training library.

Expanded Training Capacity

This collaboration with AASHTO enables local and Tribal governments to access the TC3 training library at no cost to them. The Web-based training platform offers more than 190 courses on fundamental technical topics in the areas of construction, maintenance, and materials. This resource significantly augments the training capacity of the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) portfolios to better meet the needs of the local and Tribal transportation sector moving forward.

LTAP centers and the TTAP can rebalance their offerings with these fundamental online resources and introduce more advanced training on innovative technologies and practices at the local level.

“The partnership between AASHTO and FHWA to make the TC3 curriculum available to the local and Tribal agencies provides space in the LTAP/TTAP portfolio to enable expansion into the advancement of innovations,” says Tony Furst, FHWA chief innovation officer. “Providing local and Tribal practitioners access to the training available through TC3 broadens the portfolio of training and technical assistance to local and Tribal transportation professionals, and FHWA will continue to look for additional partnerships to broaden this portfolio even further.”

Professional Development

In addition to needing to stay relevant and up to date, many local professionals seek courses with professional development hours to acquire the necessary continuing education credits for maintaining the licenses and certificates of their trade. Sometimes it is difficult to find enough relevant courses that fit within work schedules or budgets to meet these requirements. Individuals can fill the gap with the TC3 courses. More than 90 percent of the curriculum qualifies for professional development hours.

To browse and access TC3 courses, visit https://tc3.transportation.org.

To learn more about the Center for Local Aid Support, a part of FHWA’s Office of Innovative Program Delivery, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovativeprograms/centers/local_aid.


Victoria Peters is the director of the Center for Local Aid Support in FHWA’s Office of Innovative Program Delivery.

 

 

 

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