ODOT Graduate Engineering Program Improves Recruiting and Retention of Employees
Posted on June, 8th 2017
When Oregon Department of Transportation realized they were at risk of being unable to fulfill their core mission due to employee retirements, turnover, and a shortage of technical talent they commissioned two studies in order to identify areas at risk within the Highway Division.
These studies discovered the following issues:
- Overall compensation for ODOT employees was less than that of other state agencies or private businesses.
- New employees have less overall experience (less than 10 years with ODOT).
- Out of 275 managers, 42% are able to retire within 5 years.
- Out of 335 engineers, 30% are able to retire within 10 years.
- There was a critical need for succession planning and training to grow expertise.
In response to these findings, the Highway Leadership Team within the Highway Division discussed strategic investments in order to develop a talent pool and produce future leaders. The Highway Leadership Team adopted a comprehensive recruitment and retention strategy that centers around three efforts:
- Grow the Transportation Pool – generate interest with Middle and High School students.
- Grow the Connection to ODOT – promote ODOT through the Intern and Graduate Engineer Program.
- Grow ODOT Future Leaders – focus on the development of internal staff.
The Graduate Engineer Program (GEP) grows the connection to ODOT by recruiting, developing, and growing entry level career professionals. The goal of this program is to mitigate risk from the potential loss of core technical competency within the Highway Division. The GEP is designed for recent engineering graduates to transition into a full-time engineer.
For up to 24 months, GEP participants rotate through various engineering disciplines within the Highway Division including: construction, design, and maintenance. This allows the graduate engineer to be introduced to a number of experiences within ODOT in order to find out a “best fit” before settling into a more permanent position. GEP participants are considered full-time employees, and receive a salary with benefits as well as mentorship from a registered Professional Engineer. Highway Division technical managers act as a Sponsoring Manager for the graduate engineers and mentor to oversee the development of the graduate engineers throughout their rotations.
For more information about the GEP, click here.