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Our Director Director's Blog

Training

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'


HR University has a new look. OPM and the Chief Human Capital Officers Council just unveiled a refurbished HRU website that is designed to better serve human resources professionals and the Federal workforce. As a result of the hard work of our great teams here at OPM and on the CHCO Council -- and with the help of feedback we’ve gotten from HRU students -- HRU.gov is now more accessible and easier to navigate. We hope the impressive new features help you with your training needs. On the new HRU.gov you will find:

  • A Career Development menu that offers easy access to popular career development tools, such as HR career paths, HR professional roles, the online Individual Development Plan, and the HR customized self-assessment.
  • Four new studio resource pages that centralize resources for specific HR subject matters in employee services policy, mentoring, recruitment policy, and work-life.
  • Easier access to the Manger’s Corner, which has resources for leaders, managers, and executives.
  • A training opportunities menu that provides clear access to the full list of free, accredited courses.
  • An HRU tour guide that helps users find the tools they need and answer common questions.

  • Improved usability and readability on mobile devices.

The CHCO Council launched HRU in 2011 to address the growing need to train and develop the 21st Century Federal workforce. Since its launch, it has taken off and now offers 130 courses as well as many tools and resources to more than 50,000 registered users across government. Through its innovative method of leveraging existing resources throughout government, HRU has helped train thousands of employees and saved the government more than $100 million.

I invite you to learn more about HRU and what it has to offer during a live Twitter chat on July 22 from 2 to 3 p.m. EDT. CHCO Council Executive Director Justin Johnson will be ready to answer your questions using hashtag #NewHRU. I hope you can join him. But even if you can’t participate in the chat, you might want to check out HRU.gov. Let us know what you think. We hope you find it to be a useful and accessible portal to get the training you need.



Today General Services Administration Administrator Dan Tangherlini and I signed a Memorandum of Understanding that seals an important partnership that will give agencies a more efficient, more reliable, and more effective way to get the best available training and human capital resources to Federal employees.

Under this agreement, we are merging the breadth of GSA’s acquisition capabilities, tools and strategic sourcing experience with OPM’s expertise in human capital and training to form a more powerful Government solution. Our effort also is aligned with the President’s Management Agenda because it will achieve government-wide savings and efficiencies through Federal strategic sourcing. Through this effort, we will support Federal employees as they continue to provide excellent service to the American people.

This partnership acknowledges the changing Federal landscape. It recognizes OPM’s strategic goals, the current budgetary realities across government and the need to better support the mission of the Federal agencies that OPM serves.

One of my highest priorities as OPM Director is to support agencies in meeting their most challenging human capital needs, including the training and development of our Federal workforce. This partnership will help empower agencies to better accomplish that goal.

Since one of the roles of OPM is to assist the Federal agencies to develop their federal training and career development opportunities, this new partnership is just one way we are going to make that process more efficient, effective, and reliable for agencies. Federal employees must see a clear career path, and we must make sure agencies are providing training and mentoring. We must make sure that from resume to retirement, Federal employees have the processes in place to support their career development.

Through this agreement, OPM will be able to more effectively get the tools they need to fulfill their training and human capital needs. And ensuring that our workforce has what it needs to succeed is one of my highest priorities.


HR University (HRU) reached a milestone today with $100 million in cost-savings government-wide. HRU is a prime example of how we are developing a first-class Federal workforce that is well-prepared, well-trained and has the right skills.

 With tight budgets, HRU is a creative way to offer quality training to our employees that is affordable and that meets our goals.

The Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) Council launched HRU in February 2011 as the Government’s one stop shop for Federal HR training. Through HRU, we are collaborating across government to share existing resources and address competency and skill gaps within the HR community.

 

HRU is an online platform that hosts courses that are identified as the best HR training across government. Since HRU offers courses and resources that agencies have already developed, it reduces duplication across government and saves precious resources.

I applaud the CHCO Council for its innovative thinking in creating HRU. It’s another way we are working to share not only resources, but best practices. In his 2015 budget proposal, President Obama calls for just such training collaborations.

Just take a look at HRU and you’ll see that it offers courses on a variety of competencies and needs ranging from performance management, to employee benefits, to emergency preparedness. It’s another way that OPM is fulfilling its mission of providing the training Federal workers need to develop and progress in their career paths.

HRU’s is available to all Federal employees at www.HRU.gov. Spread the word. Help us as we continue to build a world-class workforce for the 21st Century.




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