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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Public Roads - Summer 2021

Summer 2021
Issue No:
Vol. 85 No. 2
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Innovation Corner

The New FHWA Office Is a HIT!

by Amy Lucero

It is my great pleasure to introduce you to the new Office of Transportation Workforce Development and Technology Deployment. If you're wondering what this has to do with innovation, the answer is A LOT!

The Office of Transportation Workforce Development and Technology Deployment will be the Federal Highway Administration's conduit to a broad network of external partners. It provides the highway transportation community with world-class subject matter experts, resources, and innovative technologies and practices all under one organization. It leverages external relationships with other government agencies, industry, foreign partners, and academia to provide FHWA partners access to innovative transportation solutions.

Headshot of Amy Lucero, Associate Administrator for Transportation Workforce Development and Technology Deployment. Source: FHWA.

While the new office name is a mouthful, we refer to the new team internally as HIT—a nod to Innovation and Technology. This new organization brings together two offices that have traditionally been leaders in workforce development, innovation, and technology deployment: the Office of Technical Services and the Office of Innovative Program Delivery. Together, this team will achieve several outcomes: (1) create efficiencies and enhance innovation and collaboration; (2) centralize formal technical assistance, training, workforce development, and implementation support for transportation practitioners; and (3) develop and manage workforce opportunities for the practitioners of the future.

Creating efficiencies. In HIT, the development and delivery of training courses will happen under one roof, fostering closer collaboration across the training and delivery aspects. The new structure adds efficiency and cohesiveness and ensures that the needs of all audiences—States, localities, Tribes, Federal lands management agencies, and industry partners—are met. HIT also brings together the two key teams behind the Every Day Counts program and other innovation initiatives, so that innovation program development and implementation are more closely linked. The new structure centralizes all primary innovation and technology deployment functions and maximizes the opportunity for collaboration and better coordination. Internally, HIT supports the FHWA workforce with training and technical assistance on essential collaboration tools and techniques, technical topics, and key FHWA initiatives.

A screen capture of a virtual lobby room. A variety of virtual signs indicate topics and content available to showcase attendees. Source: FHWA.
The lobby of the EDC Virtual Summit gave attendees access to a range of content, including panel presentations, online posters, and office hours sessions.

Centralizing support. The new office merges all training, workforce development, technical assistance, and implementation support, regardless of the customer. This is particularly supportive when a transportation partner needs a solution that incorporates several of these activities. An initial call for technical assistance on a safety issue may evolve into assistance with deploying a proven safety countermeasure, and then lead to training on Road Safety Fundamentals. Now, customers can access their needed technical assistance, technology deployment, and training with one phone call. Within HIT, staff are well-positioned to respond to iterative and evolving partner requests.

Developing and managing workforce opportunities. The new structure facilitates closer connections and shared goals. Programs such as the Highway Construction Workforce Program can be developed in parallel with State and local partners (through the Local Technical Assistance Program) who provide essential input into future skillset needs. And these activities will be enhanced through their tie to the National Highway Institute. This connectivity results in programs that can best address the needs of the future highway workforce.

I'm excited about our new organization, and I hope you are too. We're better together, and our customers will see the fruits of this great collaboration. All of us in the new FHWA Office of Transportation Workforce Development and Technology Deployment (the HIT Team) look forward to partnering with you on your workforce development, technology deployment, and innovation needs. You'll still find the same great staff that you've worked with before, and now our combined resources are positioned to serve you even more effectively. Please reach out to us and let us know how we can support you.

Amy Lucero is FHWA's Associate Administrator for the Office of Transportation Workforce Development and Technology Deployment