Strategic Workforce Development: 

Last week, we looked deeper into the “Identify, Train, Place” playbook, which highlights eight areas or “plays” to help your agency locate and hire workers to fill vacant highway construction jobs. Now, we will look at some of the key industry partners that can support your agency in the training and placement process.

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) were two of the original partners in the strategic workforce development  (SWD) initiative, also known as the Highway Construction Workforce Partnership (HCWP), and have been key to its success. AGC and ARTBA represent highway contractors, who build the majority of the road and bridge projects and who are depended on by FHWA and State DOTs to deliver the Nation’s highway program. AGC and ARTBA have chapters in most States and serve as a link between the HCWP and the contractor workforce.

During a two-year multi-state pilot, these partner organizations, among others, identified workforce requirements in terms of occupations and skills needed and capacity; and how many workers were needed in various occupations. Once these needs were defined, the SWD partnership organizations aligned that need with training programs through community colleges, trade and technical schools, and other training providers. The contractor community through AGC, ARTBA and other partner organizations helped complete the process by placing trained individuals into highway construction jobs. The partnership helped build a skilled highway construction workforce, provided a pathway for rewarding careers in highway construction, and provided the best return on investment for the taxpayer dollar.

Arizona served as one pilot location for the SWD initiative, with AGC leading the effort. AGC brought industry to the table with its connection to individual construction firms, engaged all sectors, and created an environment where the State DOT, Workforce Board, and contracting industry could jointly collaborate on innovative approaches to identifying potential workforce candidates, training, and placing them onto highway construction projects. Their involvement set the stage for the organization to continue to be actively engaged in Arizona’s effort beyond the end of the pilot time frame. Learn more about AZ’s work with AGC in the SWD playbook—Play 1:  Let Industry Quarterback Your Team.

To learn more about the strategic workforce development initiative and how you can engage with AGC, ARTBA and other partner organizations to locate and hire workers, please contact Karen Bobo or Clark Martin, FHWA Office of Innovative Program Delivery Center for Transportation Workforce Development, or Joe Conway, FHWA Office of Innovative Program Delivery Center for Local Aid Support. Find the AGC and ARTBA chapters in your area here and here, respectively.


EDC Outtakes–a series of short interview videos–give insight into the current round of EDC innovations from State practitioners and FHWA personnel . In our latest edition, Toby Crow with the Associated General Contractors of America, South Dakota, discusses the significance of the Strategic Workforce Development initiative’s partnership between State and Federal agencies, trade organizations, and private industry.

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