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Federal Education

We know from OPM’s research that Federal employees are well educated and many hold multiple college and university degrees. They love to learn and often don’t consider their educations complete just because they work for the Federal Government. That is why I am excited to announce a new educational partnership for our workforce.

Beginning this summer, an OPM partnership with Champlain College will help Federal employees, their spouses, and legal adult family members pursue online post-secondary education in such high demand fields as business, health care, and technology.

We know programs like this one work. One year ago, we initiated a partnership with University of Maryland University College. UMUC’s results are encouraging. More than 1,200 Federal employees enrolled in UMUC programs, including nearly 100 spouses and dependents. Together, they have saved nearly $765,000 in tuition. And we know that Federal employees across the country are taking interest. UMUC enrolled students from 42 states and the District of Columbia and from more than 100 Federal agencies.

Our work with UMUC and our new partnership with Champlain College are win-wins. The additional knowledge and skills that Federal workers get through these courses will help them advance their careers while also making them more engaged on the job and more skillful in fulfilling their agencies’ missions.

Champlain College will give up to a 70 percent discount on the courses. The amount of the discount will vary depending on the exact nature of, and the number of, courses they choose to take. In addition to the discount, Federal employees will be able to apply for financial aid and perhaps accrue little or no debt.

Our collaboration with Champlain College will increase all Federal employees’ access to high-quality and affordable educational resources. Champlain’s online courses will allow Federal employees to enroll no matter where they live, and to complete certificate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in such fields as cyber security, digital forensics, health care administration, and human resources management.

Employees can immediately begin submitting their applications for the summer term.

Lifelong learning is a staple of today’s Federal workforce, and our alliance with Champlain College pushes us further along that path. I am incredibly proud of the work Federal employees do each and every day, and the time and energy they invest in their jobs. Through our partnership with Champlain, we will help solidify the foundation of that investment. And stay tuned; there are even more opportunities like this to come.

Chalkboard that says 'Discounted tuition for Federal employees and their families thanks to a new education alliance with Champlain College.'

As we take a deep dive into the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results, I am proud to see the data proves that our talented workforce is always striving to get better.  When some of our innovative analysts in the Office of Planning and Policy Analysis examined education attainment patterns evident in the results, they found that a large proportion of our employees take advantage of additional training and education opportunities in a quest to better serve the American people. 

Their findings are summarized in a report, Making the Grade: The Story of an Increasingly Well-Educated Federal Workforce, which is now available on opm.gov. 

When looking at the educational progress that Federal employees have made in the past decade, we see that 39 percent have increased their education levels. When looking solely at those who entered Federal service with only a high school degree, we find that a remarkably large share --86 percent--increased their education by earning anything from a certificate in a skill area to a college degree. 

The Federal government can help employees advance their education in a number of ways --   from tuition discounts, like the one OPM initiated with the University of Maryland University College this year, to granting CHCOs the authority to help employees pay some of their educational costs.  It’s a win-win investment: Employees develop critical skills that the government needs. And, as employees expand their roles and responsibilities, they are more likely to feel vested in their organizations and motivated to continue their service to the American people.

OPM’s analysts found that as employees further their education, their odds of moving into the managerial ranks and increasing their salaries also increase significantly.

Supervisors and employees often work together to make new educational opportunities possible. That’s a special dynamic in our workforce: Employees feel supported to develop their skills and managers know that their agencies will have committed and more highly skilled workers. 

We want agencies to have the best tools available to make these collaborations possible. Through HR University, Federal HR professionals and managers have one-stop shopping for tools and resources available government-wide. We are planning to expand upon this successful model of employee training to other government professions with GovU.

So take a few moments to read OPM’s new report on education in the Federal workforce. You never know where your next spark of inspiration will come from!

Image with yellow background and green hills with the text that says 'Making the Grade: The Story of an Increasingly Well-Educated Federal Workforce'


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