The Richmond Observer – State transportation official argues for workforce development programs in transportation

RALEIGH — A North Carolina transportation official recently told the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that more federal funding is needed for workforce development, especially in economically disadvantaged communities.

Tunya Smith, director of the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Civil Rights Office, testified April 27 before the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in a hearing titled “Review of the Development labor and job creation in the construction of surface transport”.

NCDOT’s workforce development program is considered a model for others to follow. Smith said more funding is needed to ensure programs like North Carolina’s can thrive at a time when states face a shortage of skilled workers.

“We have several projects that cover almost every aspect of workforce development in the road industry,” Smith said. She then added, “There’s still work to be done.”

The state transportation agency’s workforce development programs aim to provide equal opportunity and access to all and produce a professional transportation industry workforce that meets employers’ requests.

NCDOT’s program aims to ensure that women, minorities, and other disadvantaged populations can benefit from the agency’s on-the-job training and other workforce development programs. The program has expanded to include people with disabilities, as well as people who are about to be released from prison, veterans, and people from the state’s poorest counties. The NCDOT is also working to attract more Native Americans to work for the agency by working with the North Carolina Indian Affairs Commission.

Smith said the increased funding is critical to the success of the agency’s workforce development programs, such as highway construction trades academies for adults and employee recruitment programs. agency for primary school students. Without additional funding and flexibility for our programs, these and other workforce development programs would remain stagnant, she said.

The Highway Construction Workforce Partnership enables NCDOT to work closely with important stakeholders and partners, including the Carolinas Association of General Contractors, NCWorks, and community colleges.

“The on-the-job training program is a direct route to our future goals,” said Smith. “Our agency is an example and a model of how the on-the-job training program and the support services that go with it can and should work and work.”

The FHWA requires state transportation agencies to create and manage on-the-job training programs with contractors.

Michael A. Bynum