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Climate Adaptation Training Needs and Opportunities Survey Dataset

Citation

Dowds, Jonathan; McRae, Glenn (2020), Climate Adaptation Training Needs and Opportunities Survey Dataset, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.s7h44j15k

Abstract

Climate adaptation is now a well-documented need in the transportation sector and there are strong conceptual frameworks for the adaptation process. Since climate adaptation is an emerging field, the pathways for developing the skills and competencies for adaptation careers are not well-established. This white paper assesses the workforce development needs and current training opportunities related to transportation-sector climate adaptation. To do so, training needs were examined and opportunities identified by state and regional transportation agencies; training needs of aspiring and early-career climate adaptation professionals were catalogued; and a scan was completed of the educational opportunities in climate adaptation currently offered by U.S. universities. There is evidence of convergence on the areas of content knowledge, technical expertise, and soft skills that form the core competencies necessary to support climate adaptation within the transportation sector. These core competencies are in climate science, adaptation strategies, communication, and selection of adaptation measures/decision-making under uncertainty. While these competencies need to be broadly distributed throughout transportation agencies, the relative emphasis placed on each competency will vary across agency functions and job responsibilities. The increased value placed on adaptation-related expertise by state departments of transportation and regional transportation agencies, as well as the emergence of new educational and training opportunities in climate adaptation available in higher education and professional organizations, is indicative of the potential for rapid growth in this area.Climate adaptation is now a well-documented need in the transportation sector and there are strong conceptual frameworks for the adaptation process. Since climate adaptation is an emerging field, the pathways for developing the skills and competencies for adaptation careers are not well-established. This white paper assesses the workforce development needs and current training opportunities related to transportation-sector climate adaptation. To do so, training needs were examined and opportunities identified by state and regional transportation agencies; training needs of aspiring and early-career climate adaptation professionals were catalogued; and a scan was completed of the educational opportunities in climate adaptation currently offered by U.S. universities. There is evidence of convergence on the areas of content knowledge, technical expertise, and soft skills that form the core competencies necessary to support climate adaptation within the transportation sector. These core competencies are in climate science, adaptation strategies, communication, and selection of adaptation measures/decision-making under uncertainty. While these competencies need to be broadly distributed throughout transportation agencies, the relative emphasis placed on each competency will vary across agency functions and job responsibilities. The increased value placed on adaptation-related expertise by state departments of transportation and regional transportation agencies, as well as the emergence of new educational and training opportunities in climate adaptation available in higher education and professional organizations, is indicative of the potential for rapid growth in this area.

Methods

The project team developed and administered the Climate Adaptation Training Needs and Opportunities Survey to assess the status of adaptation-related professional development at state DOTs and other transportation agencies. Survey respondents were asked what climate threats impacted their region and whether or not training opportunities related to climate and extreme weather adaptation were important for their agency's success. Those respondents who indicated that adaptation training was important for their agency's success were then asked which branches within their agency would benefit from such training opportunities, whether training was currently being offered to those branches, and how such training was being delivered (either externally or in-house at the agency) if it was it was being offered.

The survey used a “snowball” recruitment method, where invitees were provided with an unrestricted link to the survey and encouraged to share it with others in their networks who were knowledgeable about climate adaptation efforts. Consistent with the goals of the survey, this recruitment strategy is intended to generate responses from professionals who are active in this field of work and thus potentially represent the leading edge in the field.

The survey was developed and administered in LimeSurvey and was active for 3 months from mid-December 2017 through mid-February 2018.  In total, respondents from 32 transportation agencies completed the survey, consisting of seven respondents from state DOTs, 24 respondents from MPOs or Councils of Government (COGs), and one respondent from a port authority.

Usage Notes

Full text of all questions and answers is provided in the results spreadsheet. No additional information is need to use this dataset.