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TRANSPORTATION IS A PEOPLE-CENTERED ISSUE (OPINION)

TRANSPORTATION IS A PEOPLE-CENTERED ISSUE (OPINION)

ENOTrans.org
AUGUST 27, 2019
JIM TYMON, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF STATE HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

There are several critical workforce challenges facing the U.S. transportation sector today and state departments of transportation are taking steps to “sound the alarm” about the situation.

Roger Millar, secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation, provided some stark numbers on his agency’s workforce recruiting and retention situation during a panel discussion in January at the 2019 Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

“Over 2,000 are engineering employees and 41 percent of them are eligible to retire; we have 2,000 maintenance workers and 31 percent of them are eligible to retire,” Millar said, noting that WSDOT employs 7,000 across Washington state.

“We have 2,000 employees in our ferry system and 75 percent of the ferry captains are eligible to retire, along with 30 percent of vessel workers and a quarter of the port facility staff.”

A lack of interest on the part of younger workers in transportation careers is one aspect of the recruitment challenge facing state DOTs at this juncture; a lack of interest that exists well beyond the ranks of traditional engineering disciplines, according to research by the Brookings Institution... FULL ARTICLE

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