Newsletter Vol. 9
February 2018
In This Issue
Hot Topic
Invitation to Regional Universities and Local Agencies to Apply for Technical Assistance to Launch New University/Community Partnerships

Through our outreach efforts, the WRTWC has talked with representatives from a variety of transportation and local government agencies, community and economic development organizations, and educators. A common theme we hear from local agencies is how complex transportation issues can be, how important multidisciplinary expertise is to solve them, how strapped agencies are for time and resources to address an expanding array of concerns. From educators we hear how difficult it is to add any new courses into already constrained degree programs to cover the increasingly broader array of in-demand knowledge areas and skills. Are there solutions to the capacity constraints universities and local agencies face? Absolutely. They can address their mutual needs by leveraging what each can offer. 

The West Region Transportation Workforce Center is seeking opportunities to engage universities and local government agencies/community organizations to develop collaborative partnerships to address their respective goals in mutually beneficial ways. The Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities (EPIC) model provides a mechanism to address critical issues facing local government agencies and organizations while training the next generation workforce in high impact, multidisciplinary practices to advance transportation innovation and community well-being goals. The model systematically matches local priority projects with university capacity to enable agencies to undertake priority projects while tapping the energy and innovative multi-disciplinary thinking of students through real-life problem solving. The EPIC Model is based on existing community and agency workplans and existing university courses and structures and therefore is adaptable to local contexts.
The WRTWC is inviting both university representatives and local agencies in the West Region to explore potential new partnerships using the EPIC Model. To catalyze these partnerships, the WRTWC is offering technical support to interested parties. We are inviting universities and local agencies to learn about EPIC and consider its application for your context and community.

If interested in some kind of support, please use this Application Link .

The application is designed to help us gauge interest; and identify how best to provide targeted support to address local needs and enhance local efforts. We also encourage you to forward this invitation to colleagues you think might be interested. Applicants should demonstrate commitment to expanding university and local partner engagement to achieve priority community goals. University and potential local partners are encouraged to apply for technical assistance together.  The application period will close on February 14.

Success Story Showcase
Idaho Transportation Department's Horizontal Career Paths Produce Impressive Results 

As the economy rebounded from the Great Recession, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) was faced with a dual challenge: retain employees being offered high-paying opportunities in the private sector while improving their services.

In order to develop innovative solutions to how services are delivered, ITD reduced the layers of supervision from nine to five and empowered employees to make decisions where the work is being done. This, however, created a career progression issue.

The answer came by turning the organizational structure on its head and creating a new, future-focused initiative called Horizontal Career Paths.

State employees are paid, in part, based on the number of employees they supervise. With fewer supervisory roles, there were fewer opportunities for career development. So, in lieu of traditional vertical career paths, ITD is developing horizontal ones. These Horizontal Career Paths are progressive stages employees can complete to receive higher compensation. Each stage is made up of several performance metrics including a team goal, personal training, skills proficiency, and meeting safety standards.

The first Horizontal Career Path was created for maintenance workers - those who plow snow in the winter and flag or repair potholes in the summer. This is not only the largest single classification for ITD, it is one of the hardest to recruit and retain.

After three years, the department is seeing impressive results. Many vacancies have been filled, employees completing the steps of the HCP are receiving higher compensation, and the amount of time roads are free of ice and snow has increased from 28% to 74%. It has also improved the culture of the department.

"I have learned a lot of stuff that I never knew about," said J Cardona, a Transportation Technician in Operations (TTO) out of Boise. "I realized I was hard-headed, and this opened my eyes. It's made me a better operator and a better crew member."

J completed the TTO career path in three years. He took advantage of training offered for the path and learned new ways to combat snow and ice buildup on the roads. The team metric of his HCP also brought his shed's entire crew together.

"We work really well together," he said. "We talk to each other between shifts, share what's working or what areas are trouble spots."

To date, ITD has developed four unique Horizontal Career Paths, with more planned for the future. By integrating it in the right areas within the organization, the department has successfully improved the services they deliver while increasing employee retention.

Do you have a success story to share?

Let your peers know what has worked for you. You can now enter details about your workforce development successes online and we will showcase them on our website.

Upcoming Opportunities
Community Builders Now Accepting Applications for Community Assistance

Community Builders offers a limited number of community assistance opportunities for communities located within Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, New Mexico and Colorado. Through community assistance, Community Builders provides local leaders the tools and information to build prosperous, livable communities. 

Assistance projects provide communities with the tools and resources to spark meaningful on-the-ground progress, while building local capacity and creating success stories that inspire and inform other places.

Community Builders provides a range of services, including planning and design assistance, economic and market analysis, and community engagement. Each assistance project is taken on in close partnership with the selected community and tailored to meet specific local needs.
Community Builders assistance focuses on four key issues:
  1. Getting to Smarter Growth
  2. Housing for Community
  3. Building Resilient Economies
  4. Transportation for a New Economy
A competitive process is used to identify projects with a high likelihood of success and impact. Projects should address a compelling need or opportunity, have clear and realistic goals, demonstrate buy-in and support of key partners and leadership, and offer a strong prospect of implementation.

Applications for community assistance are being accepted until February 23, 2018
. For more information or to apply, click here.

Thomas J. O'Bryant Transportation Policy Fellowship

The Eno Center for Transportation is now accepting applications for its Summer 2018  Thomas J. O'Bryant Transportation Policy Fellowship . This fellowship provides a high-quality professional development opportunity for aspiring transportation specialists. Successful applicants will gain in-depth knowledge of transportation policy and practice under the guidance of Eno staff.

Deadline for applications is March 9, 2018.

For more information or to apply, click  here .

2018 Public Lands Transportation Fellows Program

The Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University Bozeman would like to announce that the application process for the 2018 Public Lands Transportation Fellows program is now open. (Note that job offers will be made contingent on funding appropriations). We are currently seeking applications for Fellows at:
  • San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex in San Diego, California
  • Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Complex near Denver, Colorado
  • Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge near Detroit, Michigan
For additional information including fellow requirements, application requirements, and position descriptions, please view our website
Applications are due to Jaime Sullivan ( by Monday, February 26, 2018.

Upcoming Trainings & Events
Webinar: Data Integration Through Data Governance
Date: February 6, 2018
Time: 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET
Cost: Free
Organization: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

This webinar series continues to highlight innovations in geospatial technologies and best practices among GIS professionals in US State Departments of Transportation.
Inconsistencies in data standardization can be a difficult challenge to overcome for many agencies. This is where effective data governance can make all the difference. Mr. Kidner's presentation will cover the topic of improving data storage and usage via practical data governance policies. The presentation will also provide detail on how the Ohio DOT created an organizational structure for implementing data governance and standardized their data collection methods, and the benefits of doing so. Mr. Kidner will also explain how the Ohio DOT used a Data Governance Maturity Model assessment, and how this tool informed the Ohio DOT's short- and long-term approaches to integrating data governance.
For more information or to register, click  here .
Webinar: Primer on the Joint Use of the HSM and the HFG for Road Systems
Date: February 13, 2018
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET
Cost: Free
Organization: National Center for Rural Road Safety

This webinar will provide tools and techniques for improving how highways are designed and operated to increase safety. The focus is on all road users and how they can safely interact with the highway infrastructure when their needs and limitations are incorporated into design and operations.
For more information or to register, click  here .

Please check out our website for the most up-to-date news and activities.

Is your organization hosting an event or opportunity you would like to share with the regional network? Please contact us and we will be happy to help you distribute the information.