Web-Based Training Opens Doors
The National Highway Institute (NHI) has been providing continuing education opportunities to transportation professionals for more than four decades. Over the years, training attendees in their course evaluations have acknowledged the quality of NHI courses and the benefits of learning from leading experts in their respective fields. More recently, NHI's customers have expressed their appreciation for the wide variety of Web-based trainings (WBTs) now available, which they can easily fit into their demanding schedules. Responding to this feedback, NHI has expanded its WBT program to more than 100 courses. NHI training participant Rod McDaniels recently shared how participating in a WBT session helped him land a job with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).
The Right Training at the Right Time
During his professional career, McDaniels had worked in a number of different industries and vocations with various organizations, ranging from the city of North Las Vegas to the United Parcel Service to an Alaskan fishery. However, in summer 2011, the position of program manager for outdoor advertising control at UDOT caught his eye, and he decided to apply.
After learning he had cleared the initial employment screenings, he began conducting indepth research on UDOT. "While researching to prepare for the interview, I actually stumbled across a reference to NHI by sheer fortune and great luck," says McDaniels. "As I was reading information about Federal laws and regulations, references to [the Federal Highway Administration] kept popping up. After reviewing the FHWA Web site, I was led directly to NHI's Web-based training portal. It was a bit of a serendipitous moment, in that I was doing the right thing, in the right place, at the right time."
McDaniels could not believe his luck when he discovered that NHI offered a course specifically related to the position he was seeking. "In all my years of experience I have never discovered an opportunity where I could actually take a multihour interactive course specifically related to the position I was about to interview for," he says. He also was amazed by the number of WBTs that NHI offers, most of which are free to participants. "The WBT component makes 24/7 accessibility a reality, which is another great benefit for today's busy professionals. The training I took, Outdoor Advertising Control: Non-Bonus States [FHWA-NHI-141049], gave me the ability to take my time and study the highly interactive content. So when I took the exam, I scored 100 percent. When I finished the exam, I received completion results and scores as well as a professional course completion certificate."
Standing Out From the Crowd
McDaniels brought his certificate of completion to his interview as evidence of his "research, preparation, and competencies," he says. "This action led to a second interview, which eventually led to a job offer!"
In his new position at UDOT, McDaniels ensures the effective control of outdoor advertising in Utah through the Federal and State regulations related to the Highway Beautification Act. "I play an oversight, communication, and coordination role for our many talented field professionals who are dispersed within UDOT's four regional field offices," he says.
Because of his positive experience with NHI training, McDaniels plans to continue participating in NHI courses to grow his competencies and learn about new regulations and technologies in his field. "In today's highly competitive job market, even the most viable candidates need to present a sound differentiation strategy to impress hiring managers and make themselves stand out from the masses," he says. "In my case, there is zero doubt that NHI's WBT helped me accomplish this goal. To that end, I am truly grateful for NHI and all the people that labored for untold hours to make NHI's WBTs a strong educational resource aimed at improving vocational knowledge and marketable job skills."
Lilly Pinto is a contributing editor for Public Roads.