LTAPs help highway workers get up to speed on training
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections show the number of highway maintenance workers in the United States rising from about 145,000 in 2006 to 158,140 in 2016, an 8.9 percent increase.
Local governments hire most of those workers; cities and counties employed almost 104,000 in 2006, and they will have 116,000-plus on their payrolls in 2016. Between 2006 and 2016, local governments will boost hiring of highway maintenance workers by 12.3 percent. Employment forecasts are from BLS’ “Industry-Occupation Employment Matrix.”
Local technical assistance programs, or LTAPs, help newly hired maintenance crews get up to speed. One example of such a training program is the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) LTAP.
Municipalities across the Keystone State are encouraged to take advantage of the technical transportation expertise, road maintenance training courses and other services offered through PennDOT’s LTAP, said PennDOT Secretary Allen Biehler, P.E.
“PennDOT has been in the road maintenance business a long time and, because we’re a state agency, we often have access to new technologies, methods and procedures that many municipalities do not,” Biehler said. “Through LTAP, we’re able to share the knowledge gained through years of experience as well as resources garnered from other states – and even other countries with local governments.”
Since 1983, the PennDOT LTAP has been providing a knowledge base for local governments. One of the most popular services is training courses that discuss topics that range from winter maintenance to work-zone traffic control to managing roadside vegetation.
In addition to regularly scheduled courses held around the state, municipalities also can request to have courses taught at their own sites. Local governments requesting their own course must guarantee at least 10 participants from either their own municipality or from surrounding communities.
Most courses offered through the program are free. However, a per-person fee is charged if specialized training materials must be purchased or if equipment or space must be leased.
LTAP also gives local governments free access to engineers and other technical specialists to help troubleshoot specific roadway or highway safety maintenance concerns. Through this service, local governments have access to professionals who will help them solve specific issues that their communities may be struggling with, such as drainage or traffic control.
All courses and other materials offered though LTAP are approved by PennDOT, and courses are taught by knowledgeable and experienced instructors through a contract with the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors.
58 training centers across the U.S.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) created LTAP in 1982 to provide local agencies with information and training programs to address the maintenance of local roadways and bridges. FHWA established the Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) in 1991 to address the transportation needs of Native American tribes.
A total of 58 centers, one in each state and one in Puerto Rico, comprise LTAP/TTAP. The centers provide information and training to local governments and agencies responsible for more than 3 million miles of roadway and 301,845 bridges in the United States.
The mission of LTAP/TTAP is to help foster a safe, efficient and environmentally sound surface transportation system by improving skills and increasing knowledge of the transportation work force and decision-makers.
For information, visit http://www.ltapt2.org.