Workforce Planning and Human Resource Development Strategies for Minnesota's Public Transportation Agencies

Author(s):

Kenneth Bartlett , Joshua Collins , Tasha Hart-Mrema , Michael Valesano

March 2021

Report no. MnDOT 2021-06

Topics:

Economics, Planning

This study explored and examined possible causes of the workforce shortage in Minnesota's transportation industry. Appropriate human resource strategies were proposed in response. Four interrelated approaches were undertaken: 1) a literature review, 2) a questionnaire, 3) audio interviews, and 4) integration of data to generate recommendations for Minnesota's public transportation agencies. The findings showed a general level of agreement for a shortage of qualified individuals. Generational differences in the context of the transportation industry appeared to operate differently than in other sectors. Additional investigation will be needed to further examine whether differences in perceptions are more prominent at the industry or organizational level. When asked about recruitment strategies implemented by their agency, 17.4% of respondents reported that nothing was being done. The stated benefits of working for public agencies included job stability, set work hours for some positions, and work-life balance. Constraints of working in the public sector largely dealt with inflexible regulations, politics, and the complex barriers to new employee integration. Interviewees expressed overall satisfaction with their agency, but several noted problems that reflected bureaucratic policies. Standard pay scales, preferences for seniority, and lack of transparency for job roles were believed to be significant issues. In this report, we recommended a holistic approach to developing Minnesota's public transportation industry through purposive change that focuses on existing opportunities related to the state's and the nation's changing demographics, as well as significant shifts related to the meaning and purpose of work.

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