AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights & LaborTM Summit

May 16, 2017

In December of 2016, the AASHTOWare ProjectTM Task Force (PTF) hosted a three-day AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights & LaborTM Summit in Gainesville, Florida, which was facilitated by Info Tech Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights & Labor Liaisons. The AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights & Labor Summit attendees were made up of 29 agency personnel from 16 licensing agencies. In addition, four PTF members attended along with two AASHTO Project Managers and seven Info Tech personnel all taking part in the daily discussions. The two groups (Civil Rights Professionals and Labor Professionals) met separately each day with a joint meeting at the end of the day to discuss common issues and key findings. It was a great learning event for all who attended.

The Summit provided an opportunity for DOT analysts who perform the day-to-day work on DBE, EEO, OJT, and Labor Compliance to discuss the CRL system. The main objectives of the Summit were to:
  • Determine how each state does business in relation to their programs
  • Determine how the current functionality of the system could assist them
  • Determine what future enhancements are critical so the system can be used by all CRL licensing states
 A few key concepts that were brought forward by both groups for implementation were:
  • Business implementation teams are hugely important: IT staff need to be part of the implementation group but the business staff needs to drive the implementation.
  • Think about existing business practices from the paper world and modify the practice to remove processes that are no longer necessary in the electronic process; streamline your processes.
  • A good project manager is critical to keep the implementation process on track.
  • Management steering groups are important for budget and agency-wide decisions to keep the implementation process moving.
  • A good training program and external support tools (Website, etc.) are important to successfully support the agency’s internal staff & external customers.
Several of the attendees had this to say about their experience at the AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights & Labor Summit:
What did you Learn or Gain from the Summit?
“I gained a much better understanding of other agency’s needs; the federal regulations allow state agencies to create business processes but to use the system effectively, we have to come to an agreement on minimum requirements to serve all.” 
How do you think the Summit benefited your Agency?
“We now have a better understanding of how we can work within the system, rather than trying to force our current business processes to fit into the system.”

What actions has your agency taken based on the ​information you brought back from the Summit?
“We have started conversations with our IT staff about where we are going in the future after the initial roll out of Construction/Materials.” 
Based on the Summit discussions, in your opinion what would be the most productive future enhancement(s) to the system that would benefit your agency or others?
“Direct import of Wage Decisions from the USDOL and interfaces with payroll software vendors for improved payroll import and exception reporting.”​

The immediate result of the AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights & Labor Summit was that all attendees learned a lot about the current AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights & Labor functionality and a number of enhancements were identified for potentially including in a future release of the software.  These enhancements will be discussed during future Civil Rights & Labor Management Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meetings to further define and endorse the enhancements for future functionality in AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights & Labor.

If you would like to become more involved with the direction of the software, please visit the Cloverleaf®site for information on the Civil Rights & Labor Management TAG.  If you would like information on the AASHTOWare Project Civil Rights & Labor Technical Review Team (TRT) or information on participating on this group please contact AASHTO Staff or any member of the PTF.

– Charles Groshens, Minnesota Department of Transportation.