In a couple weeks, I’m looking forward to attending the “Government Workforce” Learning Innovations Conference hosted by ASTD on October 24 at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The schedule includes several great sessions directed toward government learning professionals, including a couple that address the implications of an election year transition, and at least two more that talk about “doing more with less.” You can learn more and register for the event here.
In fact, there’s one session that I recommended as a Conference Committee member where colleagues from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration will highlight the agency’s innovative efforts to educate their own staff, citizens and other key stakeholders. FHWA’s most recent example of striving to be an educational leader is illustrated by a new website called Federal-aid Essentials for Local Public Agencies that seeks to help nearly 28,000 cities, counties and towns navigate the issues of using Federal Aid Highway funding for transportation projects that cover roughly 75 percent of US highways.
Thomas Elliott, a Training Program Manager at FHWA’s National Highway Institute, explains the project in this way:
“FHWA works directly with States to administer the Federal Aid program, and the States know the rules. But there can be issues when a local agency receives Federal Aid funding. Local agencies do not always know what may be required by law to spend Federal funds. Last year, we identified several of the more critical areas that cause the biggest issues and developed short (not to exceed 7 minutes) clips to explain the issues. The site went live this past August.”
Elliott went on to cite three key features of the site that are designed to improve the user’s educational experience:
- The videos are not a directed solution. The user determines what they want to see, when they want to see it, and in what order they want to see it.
- Users choose when have they seen enough. We have provided additional information and resources around the video links so the user can get additional information if they choose to do so.
- The user has an easy way to contact somebody from within their State so they can get more information about State-specific issues that may be related to the work they want to do.
In a DOT Fast Lane blog post, FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez also points out that “The video library is accessible in the office or in the field from any computer or mobile device with internet access.”
The video below is one of my favorite examples as it provides an excellent overview of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – and it’s valuable far beyond the education of LPAs. I could see human resources professionals and agency managers / supervisors beyond LPAs watching this video as part of their on-boarding process:
Finally, the project was a collaborative effort that included input from the American Public Works Association (APWA) and worked with state and local partners in the development process to ensure that it met their learning requirements and “was presented in clear and concise language that users can easily understand.”
Ultimately, it should save state and local agencies significant time and money and make these transportation projects even more efficient.
Again, I’d invite you to learn more about this and other innovative, education-related projects being developed by the National Highway Institute at the Government Workforce event on October 24. Please click here or the button to the right to register.
For More Information About Federal Aid Essentials for Local Public Agencies
- Public Roads Magazine. Full-length, in-depth article (September/October, 2012)
- Focus Newsletter. (September, 2012)
- APWA Announcement (September 18, 2012)
What’s happening around learning innovation in your agency?