NCHRP 20-65 (44) - Curriculum for New State DOT Transit Grant Managers in Administering Federal and State Transit Grant Programs Biennial FTA State Programs Meeting / State Public Transit Partnerships Conference August 7, 2103 KFH Group, Inc. Sue Knapp Beth Hamby
Research Objective: • Develop a training curriculum for new State DOT transit grant managers in administering Federal and State transit grants. • Panel Instructions – focus on: • management of FTA Funds (versus state) • staff level directly involved in managing and delivering federal transit program (versus policy) • Staff new to transit - “new hires”
Project Tasks • Task 1 – Consult with State DOT Transit Directors (added “new hires”) • Task 2 – Identify Core Skills Needed • Task 3 – Identify Knowledge Areas • Task 4 – Inventory and Assess Existing Training Courses • Task 5 – Recommend and Design Curriculum
Project Status Tasks 1 – 4 - completed • Feb-Mar 2013: Surveyed 50 state transit directors & “new hires.” Responses received: • 31 directors (31 states) • 29 “new hires” (17 states) • Apr-May 2013: Interviewed 6 state transit directors (AL, MI, NM, ND, WA, VT), & 2 “new hires” (MO, NM) by phone • Skills & knowledge areas identified through surveys & interviews • Existing courses / guidebooks inventoried in Dec. 2012; additional courses/resources identified through surveys Task 5 - under way • Currently writing and designing format for the curriculum
How States Train New Hires Now • Primarily • one-on-one/mentoring • self-study: webinars/state management plans/SOPs/FTA circulars • Some internal classroom (State hires outside trainer) • External classroom • FTA • NTI • CTAA • A handful use: AASHTO, APTA, CUTR (FL), CETD (WI), SURTC (ND), TSI, state association conferences
Training formats favored • Most states surveyed favor in-person training (classroom, one-on-one, or mentoring) • Webinars & self-study mostly reported as only “somewhat effective”, but webinars (esp. live vs. recorded) cited as helpful for states with travel restrictions.
Existing Course Favorites • FTA courses in general – TEAM (but needed more often), Drug & Alcohol, Civil Rights, others • FTA Regional courses and meetings – e.g., Region IV Transit 101 course (offered every other year) • FTA State Management Review Workshop • NTI courses in general – Procurement and others. However, often geared toward large urbans or audience too broad to be useful for states • SURTC Principals of Transit Management (but doesn’t happen often enough) • TSI (specific courses not indicated)
Priority Training Needs • TEAM – needed more often • Procurement – something geared specifically to states – 2 days suggested • Asset Management – once the MAP-21 requirements are determined • Safety Oversight – once the MAP-21 requirements are determined • “Everything!”
Core Skills Needed Financial/Grants Management Project Management Analytical Writing Technology Communications
Core Skills Needed Core skill set addressed in module on recruitment & hiring – states can hire for core skills, but need to train for FTA/State program knowledge. Recruitment/hiring module includes: • Recruitment practices, organized by skills, aimed at hiring those with core skills • Existing training sources and guidebooks/manuals are identified for some core skills
Core Skills Needed Financial/Grants Management Skills • Skills Needed for a MAJORITY of Positions: • Budget development and monitoring • Understanding grant applicant budgets • Understanding invoices/ reimbursement requests • Other Commonly Needed Skills: • Financial accounting • Understanding audits
Core Skills Needed Project Management Skills • Skills Needed for a MAJORITY of Positions: • Project planning - objectives, tasks, milestones, deliverables, schedule, budget • Project monitoring / tracking / reporting • Other Commonly Needed Skills: • Delegating to / prioritizing work for others • Equipment useful life tracking • Skills Needed for a Small Number of Positions: • Capital construction project management • Event planning / meeting logistics
Core Skills Needed Analytical Skills • Skills Needed for a MAJORITY of Positions: • Understanding performance measures • Other Commonly Needed Skills: • Quantitative analysis • Skills Needed for a Small Number of Positions: • Demographic analysis • Alternatives analysis • Survey design
Core Skills Needed Writing Skills • Skills Needed for a MAJORITY of Positions: • Preparing executive summaries • Preparing project descriptions • Business correspondence • Other Commonly Needed Skills: • Technical writing • Preparing lengthy written reports • Newsletter writing/editing • Web content development
Core Skills Needed Technology Skills • Skills Needed for a MAJORITY of Positions: • Basic Office Software • Skills Needed for a Small Number of Positions: • Graphic design • Database design and management • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) • Information technology • Website content management
Core Skills Needed Communications Skills • Skills Needed for a MAJORITY of Positions: • Presentations to groups • Sub-recipient relations • Working with advisory groups • Written communications • Other Commonly Needed Skills: • Supervisory skills • Training skills • Coordinating interdepartmental groups • Public relations
Curriculum Challenges • Variety of state staff organizational approach. • By grant (e.g., rural, urban, specialized): 45% • By functional expertise (e.g., procurement, maintenance, planning, IT, etc.): 45% • By geographic area: 32% • 7 states–23%–checked a combination • Variety of state positions to train…
Titles of recent hires: Associate Transportation Planner Community Grants Coordinator Compliance Officer Financial Administrator Fiscal Analyst Fiscal Transit Planner Grant Coordinator Grants and Financial Analyst Grants Manager Grants Officer Human Services Transit Planner Intermediate Accountant Multimodal Operations Specialist Program Manager Project Manager Regional Planning Manager Regional Transit Planner Rideshare Program Manager RTAP Training Program Manager Rural Program Manager Rural Transit Programs Supervisor Section 5307/Intercity Bus Coordinator Senior Multimodal Operations Specialist Training, Safety & Outreach Manager Training, Safety & Security Program Manager Transit Coordinator Transit Management Officer II Transportation Planner Transportation Planner/Analyst Trainee Transportation Specialist I Urban Special Needs Planner
Curriculum Challenges • Many existing training courses are on how to manage a transit system rather then how to manage FTA grant funds • New Hires need to know both how to manage FTA grants/funds and how to manage a transit system • States prefer one-to-one training which could utilize this curriculum but “trainer not included” • Content • Need to keep content “current” as federal programs change • How states manage the FTA funds - as contained in their State Management Plan – can vary considerably in processes/procedures…how to incorporate this variety into one curriculum?
Curriculum Development • Drafting modules covering all FTA knowledge areas • Organized by function rather than SMR sections • Three levels for each knowledge area • Level 1: intro for all state program staff – “first week on job” • Level 2: more in depth for most state program staff • Level 3: very detailed for specialized staff for the more complex areas – refer to external course (FTA, NTI). • Each module includes key concepts, definitions, brief “self” quiz
Knowledge Areas • Introduction • to FTA grant programs • to transit modes • to subrecipient oversight & monitoring • to role of transit in State DOT • Legal Authority & Annual Certifications • Subrecipient Legal Authority – Role of Governing Body and Advisory Groups • Subrecipient Certifications and Assurances/what they have agreed to in the FTA Master Agreement… • Suspension/Debarment • Restrictions on Lobbying
Knowledge Areas • FTA Grant Administration • State Management Plans • Program of Projects • Using TEAM-Web • Milestone Progress Reports • National Transit Database • Grant Close-Out • Subrecipient Grant Administration • Grant Applications • Funding Allocations/Project Selection • Subrecipient Grant Agreements • Subrecipient Third Party Agreement • Subrecipient Reporting and Tracking
Knowledge Areas • FTA Financial Management • Budgeting • Accounting • Financial Reporting and Financial Status Reports • Funds Management (federal and state) • Federal Financial Interest in Assets • Audit Requirements and Review • Subrecipient Financial Management • Subrecipient Financial Capacity • Eligible Expenditures • Cost Allocation/Indirect Costs • Local Match • Force Account Activities
Knowledge Areas • Project Management and Grantee Oversight • FTA Compliance Reviews (of State) • State Reviews of Subrecipient Compliance • State Oversight - Subrecipient Capital Projects • Procurement • State Procurements versus Subrecipient Procurements • Procurement Policies, Process and History • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise • Buy America Requirements
Knowledge Areas • Local and Regional Planning • Annual subrecipient Program of Projects (POP) • Relationship of local POP to STIP/TIP • MPO and subrecipient participation in other local/regional planning activities • Coordination • Title VI considerations • Transit performance evaluation • ITS Architecture • Public Participation • Public Participation in developing POP • Public Comment on Fare/Service Changes (S. 5307 only) • Title VI and Public Participation
Knowledge Areas • State and Subrecipient Asset Management, Safety and Security • Satisfactory Continuing Control over Assets • Vehicle and Facility Management • Maintenance of Vehicles, Facilities, Other Assets • Security and Safety Requirements • State Safety Oversight • Subrecipient Personnel Issues - Human Resources • EEO • Labor Protection/Special Warranty • Drug-Free Workplace • FTA Drug and Alcohol Testing Program
Knowledge Areas • Subrecipient Service Requirements & Restrictions – and State Role in Ensuring Compliance • Half-Fare (S. 5307 only) • ADA • Ensuring Service Open to the Public • Charter Bus • School Bus • State Technical Assistance/Training for Subrecipients
Next Steps • Develop final format (state input on prototypes welcome!) • Complete draft content (about 50% drafted as of mid-July) • Format the draft modules and provide to Panel • Per Panel feedback, revise draft and prepare final for NCHRP publication
Questions - Format • Would Self-Study work in your State? • Do the Three Levels work? • Should it be offered on-line with a written study guide – “training on demand”? As “self study”? • Should it include the possibility of a classroom or mentor component? • Would it help to have the links to the existing training courses “searchable” by key words, location, skill level?
Questions - Maintaining/Updating • The published curriculum will become outdated when FTA program requirements change/new requirements emerge (e.g., Asset Management) • Should it be maintained and updated on an ongoing basis? (e.g., as a mini-website like the FTA Best Practices Procurement Manual, or simply a frequently-updated PDF) • If yes, who should maintain?
For more information or feedback KFH Group Sue Knapp, Principal Investigator firstname.lastname@example.org 301-951-8660 Beth Hamby email@example.com 206-448-6749