MnDOT Operations Division Strategic Workforce Planning and Implementation

Principal Investigator(s):

Kenneth Bartlett, Professor, Education & Human Development


Project summary:

There is increased recognition of the importance of future workforce projections to guide operational services, and recruitment and retention strategies needed to help organizations and industries counteract potential disruptions through labor shortages, high turnover, and the lack of alignment of employee knowledge and skills with a rapidly changing and dynamic external environment. The transportation industry is noted for a severe and growing workforce shortage. Further, the concurrent impacts of insufficient new workers entering the industry, difficulty in retention of current employees, and significant, ongoing, and evolving changes in employee workplace attitudes corresponding to the COVID-19 pandemic have created challenges for local agencies to find staff to deliver projects and services. The problems are especially acute for technical workers, including engineers, engineering technicians, surveyors, and surveying technicians in Minnesota's transportation public agencies.

The purpose of this proposed project is to engage in research, data analysis, and scenario planning to assist the MnDOT Operations Division with workforce planning and implementation approaches to guide current and future state workforce strategies. A multi-stage and multi-source analysis of data provided by the MnDOT Operations Division, in addition to other quantitative and qualitative data identified through a literature review, will provide the foundation for the work. Once a greater understanding of current and likely future driving forces for the workforce shortage is gained, then the focus of this project shifts to consider future opportunities through a scenario planning process. Specifically, recruitment, retention tactics, and division human resource development strategies, including various approaches to on-the-job training and online learning from both the public and the private sector will be examined as core components of scenario planning to identify a range of workforce planning and development solutions.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2024031
  • Start date: 10/2023
  • Project status: Active
  • Research area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Economics, Planning