Project 18-5F: Freight Academy III – Program and Scholarships
The Coalition’s Freight Academy is an exciting program designed to educate public sector freight professionals and prepare them for the upcoming challenges and opportunities as freight is considered in transportation policy, planning and operations. Designed as an immersion program, participants have unique opportunities to see and learn about the inner workings of the goods movement system, including maritime terminals, the distribution centers of major corporations, air cargo operations, truck operations, and rail operations. Participants will also undertake a Capstone Project designed to allow them to apply what they are learning throughout the week to a situation they are likely to confront in their agency work. The Inaugural program was held in October, 2008 and the second Academy is scheduled for April, 2010.
The Freight Academy has had an excellent response, with participants from DOTs, MPOs, port authorities and other agencies. This proposal is to fund a continued (third) offering. As our economy continues to be challenged and margins to keep freight-related activities viable in the region grow tighter, it is even more critical for our public sector transportation professionals to understand freight, how it works and what its needs are from the “ground up” and from the private sector perspective, as their actions as public planners and decision-makers can have an impact on the freight arena. The work required in developing a third Freight Academy would involve:
- Selecting a host location and services including classroom facilities, accommodation, restaurants, transportation, etc.;
- Selecting and confirming field visits, instructors, keynote speakers, etc.;
- Updating the website and other program materials;
- Marketing the program;
- Review and selection of applicants, and awarding of scholarships;
- Correspondence with the host location, field visit hosts, vendors, instructors, participants and other invited guests; and
- Production of all updated program materials.
To date, we have had success in finding host settings that have greatly reduced our costs and we anticipate this continuing, even should we change the venue. Many agencies universities and organizations have expressed interest in partnering with the Coalition on this effort to provide meeting space and assist with field visit and on-site planning. With each successive Academy our process is being streamlined both for planning the Academy and undertaking activities to execute this worthwhile effort.
We would also propose to fund 10 scholarships that would expand the opportunities for participants throughout the Coalition region to attend. This is especially important in the current environment of agencies with very limited resources for staff training and travel. We will continue to build on the work we’ve begun with Freight Academy II to facilitate additional scholarships for participants from organizations such as AASHO and FHWA Freight Office, as well as others we will work to identify.
Project 17-5F: Freight Academy II – Program and Scholarships
Continued education of the region’s freight transportation professionals is key to meeting the I-95 Corridor Coalition’s goal of improving mobility for people and goods, enhancing safety for all travelers, and improving the economic vitality of the region. DOTs, MPOs, port authorities and other transportation agencies will continue to face the challenges of capacity constraints, aging infrastructure, safety and security concerns, operational challenges and changing logistical patterns, all in the face of an increasing demand of goods movement. Educated, competent and innovative freight transportation officials at agencies throughout the corridor will be critical to meeting these challenges. Along with the changing dynamics and new developments in the field of freight transportation, reorganization and the inevitable turnover within state transportation agencies means that offering professional development opportunities on an on-going basis is critical. Freight courses and workshops offer professionals not only the chance to gain technical skills, but they provide important networking opportunities and therefore foster interagency, regional collaboration.
The Intermodal Committee has experienced great success in past professional development efforts. Not only have these projects provided the needed educational experiences, but they have served to build partnerships with other agencies (e.g. FHWA), and have been an important outreach tool for the Committee. FHWA is currently evaluating its professional development program, and efforts such as this proposed project can help to provide evaluative information and additional resources as the agency redefines its program.
1. Sponsor three to four courses or workshops. These could include:
- Integrating Freight into the Transportation Planning Process (NHI Course 139001)
- Uses of Multimodal Freight Forecasting for Transportation Planning (NHI Course 139002)
- FHWA’s Freight Security Awareness Workshops
2. Sponsor 15 to 20 scholarships for the Freight Academy (currently funded through I-95 Corridor Coalition Year 14B funding and under development).
Read about Freight Academy's objectives, participants, nomination process and scholarships: Freight Academy page.
>> Go to Freight Academy website.