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Attracting Non-Traditional Workers Into the TSMO Workforce


White Paper Highlights

  • There are many categories of non-traditional workers that could be attracted to the transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) industry.
  • Transportation organizations could benefit from hiring non-traditional workers through higher retention rates.
  • There are several examples of how transportation and non-transportation organizations are changing the culture of work and trying to attract non-traditional workers.
  • A variety of strategies are provided as “starter” ideas for piloting methods for attracting non-traditional workers.


During the 2nd TSMO Workforce Summit, there was interest in exploring how to tap into non-traditional workers to broaden the pool of potential employees. Non-traditional workers are people who may not meet traditional education and experience job requirements education and experience. Additionally, non-traditional work candidates may have backgrounds in other fields, be career changers, be neurodiverse, have a non-violent criminal record, or are returning to the workforce. They may also be self-taught, having picked up knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) through on-the-job experiences or self-guided study. Whether it’s a stay-at-home parent, gig-economy worker, remote worker, or cognitively impaired person, there is an increasing need to grow the candidate pool for supporting the changing requirements to operate our nation’s transportation infrastructure. In a recent study, 52% of state and local workers are considering changing jobs, retiring, and/or leaving the workforce entirely. (MIssion Square Research Institute 2021). This White Paper highlights the range of potential non-traditional workers that can be targeted to support TSMO as a short-term job, or even a long-term career. A brief discussion on barriers to hiring non-traditional workers, and strategies for transportation agencies that are considering testing a pilot program that targets one of the defined groups is also included.

This paper was developed as part of NOCoE’s strategic goal to advance the TSMO workforce. This topic area is being explored as a follow-up to NOCoE’s 2021 TSMO Workforce Summit, a gathering of TSMO and HR professionals. The summit revealed the importance of focusing on strengthening pipelines, focusing on the paraprofessional workforce, and highlighting TSMO as a career of choice. NOCoE will continue to work with its partners around solutions for each of these areas while also developing and sharing resources to benefit practitioners.

Content Type

Case Studies & Lessons Learned

Publishing Organization


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Todd Szymkowski, PE, PTOE, PMP
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