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Training Options


Federally Mandated Training

Federally Mandated Training, is defined on the Standard Form (SF) 182 (Authorization, Agreement and Certification of Training) as “mandatory training for all employees Governmentwide,” or in some cases, groups of employees across Federal agencies and departments.

Listed below are three types of Federally Mandated training:

  • Mandatory Training for all Federal Employees
  • Mandatory Training by Role
  • Mandatory Training by Occupation

Many agencies have their own required training. However, unlike Federally mandated training, this type of training is not mandated by Federal statute for all Federal employees. Agency Required Training as defined on the SF 182 is “required by the agency and provided to Federal employees to achieve the goals and objectives of the Agency as needed.” Employees should contact their agency human resources office to determine which training is required for their particular agency.

Mandatory Training for All Federal Employees

IT Security Awareness

Mandate: Public Law 100-235; 5 CFR 930.301
Frequency: Annually
Intended Audience: All Federal Employees

Agencies are required to develop a plan for Federal information systems security awareness and training. Agencies must also provide initial, continuing, and refresher training at the awareness level, policy level, implementation level and performance level for executives, program and functional managers, information resources managers, security and audit personnel, automated data processing management, operations, and programming staff, and end users. The importance of computer security to the agency, employees' role and responsibility in computer security, and basic agency computer security policies and procedures is a part of the periodic computer security training required by the Computer Security Act of 1987.


Mandate: Section 111 of Title I, Division J, of the Fiscal Year 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 108-447)
Frequency: Upon entry for new employees and on September 17th of each year for all employees.
Intended Audience: All Federal Employees

Agencies are required to provide new agency employees with education and training materials concerning the United States Constitution and provide, annually, education and training materials to all employees (Section 111 of Title I, Division J, of the Fiscal Year 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 108-447), enacted into law on December 8, 2004). These agencies below have shared their online courses to help other agencies meet this requirement:

Note: Employees are not required to take Constitution Day training. Agencies are required annually to provide materials on the Constitution to all employees.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
: This online course is designed to educate DHS employees on the U.S. Constitution. Here are the EHRI data fields to include in your LMS.

Department of Defense: The Department of Defense (DoD) developed a website and online course on the U.S. Constitution to assist DoD employees learn about the Constitution. The website contains the course, videos from Supreme Court Justices, and other Constitution and Citizenship resources. Federal employees and the general public may view the website and take the course.


Mandate: 5 CFR 724.203
Frequency: On a training cycle of no longer than every 2 years
Intended Audience: Federal Employees

Agencies are required to develop training on the rights and remedies applicable to agency employees regarding anti discrimination laws and whistleblower protection laws. For more information on No Fear Act training, go to

Nuclear Regulatory Commission developed an online course designed to educate its employees on the No Fear Act. Here is the source code and the EHRI data fields. You must download the zip files to your computer before you can upload the code to your LMS. The first version was designed to be run within an LMS. The second version ("mock API") was designed to run as a stand-alone course, such as on a CD.

Occupational Health and Safety

Mandate: 29 CFR 1960.59(a)
Frequency: There is no time frame specified.
Intended Audience: Federal Employees

Each agency shall provide appropriate safety and health training for employees including specialized job safety and health training appropriate to the work performed by the employee, for example: Clerical; printing; welding; crane operation; chemical analysis, and computer operations. Such training also shall inform employees of the agency occupational safety and health program, with emphasis on their rights and responsibilities. For more information on occupational health and safety training, go to

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Mandatory Training by Role

Ethics Awareness

Mandate: 5 CFR 2638.705
Frequency: Annually
Intended Audience: (a) Covered employees.
(1) Employees appointed by the President;
(2) Employees of the Executive Office of the President;
(3) Employees defined as confidential filers in 5 CFR 2634.904;
(4) Employees designated by their agency under 5 CFR 2634.601(b) to file confidential financial disclosure reports;
(5) Contracting officers, as defined in 41 U.S.C. 423(f)(5); and
(6) Other employees designated by the head of the agency or his or her designee based on their official duties.

Agencies must also provide new employees with a minimum of one hour of duty time to either review the ethics materials stated in 5 CFR 2638.703 or receive ethics training, within 90 days of their entrance on duty. In addition, agencies are required to provide annual ethics training to employees identified in the regulation, such as political appointees and contracting officers.

Plain Writing Act

Mandate: Public Law 111-274
Frequency: The deadline for implementing training to agency employees was July 13, 2011, but there is no other specified time frame for this training.
Intended Audience: Federal Agencies

Agencies are required to provide training in plain writing to agency employees. Agencies should design a plan to determine which employees would benefit the most from this training, and provide training to new employees. Senior officials are responsible for overseeing their agency’s implementation of this training to employees, and establish a process for the agency to oversee its ongoing compliance with the Act’s requirements. For more information on plain language training, go to

The Social Security Administration developed a course consisting of Videos on Demand to meet this requirement. The course consists of a short video. Below are links to two formats to the video; the first is a Windows Media version that you can watch on your personal computer, the second is a Flash version that you can use to embed on a website (similar to videos on YouTube). Both versions include closed captioning. You must download the zip files to your computer before uploading to your agency's LMS.

The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN), offers free half-day plain language training classes for federal agencies, as well as classes on writing for the web. All of the classes are based on the Federal Plain Language Guidelines and involve interactive writing exercises. Agencies are encouraged to contact PLAIN to set up classes; they like to see 20-35 students per class.

The Department of the Army training module, aimed at "Action Officers"... "Action officers shape information and submit recommendations to senior decision makers, that when approved become decisions. To do this successfully, action officers must be proficient writers; they author documents that often have impact Army-wide." Self-paced instruction consists of 11 lessons and 5 appendices that cover staff processes and communication skills, including writing. Enrollment is available to all federal employees and members of the armed forces.

The National Institutes of Health offers a free plain language internet-based training that introduces you to the basics of plain language. It's not just for medical folks. The goal of this training is to help you learn to organize your ideas, use a clear writing style, and become a more effective communicator.

The Federal Plain Language Guidelines, which the Department of Justice will be adopting as its guide, can be found at

Insider Threat Awareness Training

Mandate: Exec Order 13587
Frequency: Within the first 30 days of employment or following access to classified information.
Intended Audience: Employees with access to classified information.

The heads of agencies that operate or access classified computer networks shall have responsibility for appropriately sharing and safeguarding classified information on computer networks. As part of this responsibility, they shall: (a) designate a senior official to be charged with overseeing classified information sharing and safeguarding efforts for the agency; (b) implement an insider threat detection and prevention program consistent with guidance and standards developed by the Insider Threat Task Force established in section 6 of this order; (c) perform self-assessments of compliance with policies and standards issued pursuant to sections 3.3, 5.2, and 6.3 of this order, as well as other applicable policies and standards, the results of which shall be reported annually to the Senior Information Sharing and Safeguarding Steering Committee established in section 3 of this order; (d) provide information and access, as warranted and consistent with law and section 7(d) of this order, to enable independent assessments by the Executive Agent for Safeguarding Classified Information on Computer Networks and the Insider Threat Task Force of compliance with relevant established policies and standards; and (e) detail or assign staff as appropriate and necessary to the Classified Information Sharing and Safeguarding Office and the Insider Threat Task Force on an ongoing basis.

Purchase Card Training

Mandate: Exec Order 12931
Frequency: Immediately after receiving the Travel Card
Intended Audience: Employees who are in possession of a Government purchasing card

To make procurement more effective in support of mission accomplishment and consistent with recommendations of the National Performance Review, heads of executive agencies engaged in the procurement of supplies and services shall:

(a) Review agency procurement rules, reporting requirements, contractual requirements, certification procedures, and other administrative procedures over and above those required by statute, and, where practicable, replace them with guiding principles that encourage and reward innovation;

(b) Review existing and planned agency programs to assure that such programs meet agency mission needs;

(c) Ensure that procurement organizations focus on measurable results and on increased attention to understanding and meeting customer needs;

(d) Increase the use of commercially available items where practicable, place more emphasis on past contractor performance, and promote best value rather than simply low cost in selecting sources for supplies and services;

(e) Ensure that simplified acquisition procedures are used, to the maximum extent practicable, for procurements under the simplified acquisition threshold in order to reduce administrative burdens and more effectively support the accomplishment of agency missions;

(f) Expand the use of the Government purchase card by the agency and take maximum advantage of the micro-purchase authority provided in the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 by delegating the authority, to the maximum extent practicable, to the offices that will be using the supplies or services to be purchased;

(g) Establish clear lines of contracting authority and accountability;

(h) Establish career education programs for procurement professionals, including requirements for successful completion of educational requirements or mandatory training for entry level positions and for promotion to higher level positions, in order to ensure a highly qualified procurement work force;

(i) Designate a Procurement Executive with agency-wide responsibility to oversee development of procurement goals, guidelines, and innovation, measure and evaluate procurement office performance against stated goals, enhance career development of the procurement work force, and advise the agency heads whether goals are being achieved; and

(j) Review existing and planned information technology acquisitions and contracts, to ensure the agency receives the best value with regard to price and technology, and consider alternatives in cases where best value is not being obtained.

Telework Enhancement Act of 2010

Mandate: Telework Enhancement Act of 2010
Frequency: No time frame specifically stated in the citation.
Intended Audience: Eligible employees approved to Telework

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 requires agencies to provide interactive telework training to eligible employees and their managers and requires employees to complete the training prior to signing a telework agreement. To meet this requirement, OPM developed training modules available on OPM's WorkLife Flexibility webpage.

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Low & No Cost Training

Organizations must continue the operation of training and development even in times of tighter budgets. There are a number of different ways organizations can train their workforce with minimal expenditures. One obvious way of controlling costs is limiting the number of people sent externally for training. Other easy ways to decrease costs and increase the quality of training in your organization is through on-the-job training, using technology, offering online training, free webinars or simply formalizing the informal training that’s already occurring on a daily basis. By implementing some of the suggestions on this page, you can increase the quality of your training offerings while incurring little to no cost.

Federal Government Tools and Resources

Federal Executive Boards

Agencies should coordinate with their local Federal Executive Board (FEB) for cost-effective training opportunities and pre-retirement seminars in their area. Historically, the Federal Executive Boards have offered low cost and sometimes no-cost training courses and seminars for federal employees. Fees arranged through the FEB are usually considerably less than published rates or tuitions from commercial sources.

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Private Sector Tools and Resources




LinkedIN Events

Search the LinkedIn site for events by subject matter or location to find seminars, speaker presentations, and workshops.

@Lrnchat/#lrnchat (Learn Chat on Twitter)

An online chat session that occurs over Twitter every Thursday at 8:30-10:00pm EST/5:30-7:00pm PST.You can follow @LearnChat at, or visit their website:

Learning Management System (LMS)

A computer software program used to deliver, track, and manage training. Widely used throughout corporate universities, a LMS provides the employee easy access register, schedule and complete the courses. The type of training an LMS can provide is synchronous (self-instruction), asynchronous (collaboration with others), blended and classroom based training.


Learning conducted through an electronic media. E-learning (or virtual) courses have become a common training delivery method for many organizations. E-learning courses provide significant benefits to both the learner and organization mainly because they can be accessed from anywhere at any time and saves on facilitator and logistical needs in the long run. Many agencies offer e-learning courses through their LMS to allow easy access and create a record of completed courses.

Here are some examples of e-learning resources:


Live event (meetings, presentations, etc.) conducted via the internet using a specified learning platform. During the webinar, the facilitator engages with participants through various means while participants view the content remotely. Webinars can be recorded and posted online for future viewing. Some training based organizations offer free webinars to industry-based organizations.


A series of digital audio or video media files available for download through websites. Podcasts are great tools to have for the workforce to attend at various times due to shift work or difficult availability. Podcasts can be available on demand for anytime learning by employees – in the office, during the commute, or at home. Podcasts, which offer an alternative to reading that appeals to employees who prefer learning modes, enable employees to learn about issues, innovations, and best practices.

Here are some examples of on-demand professional and personal development podcasts:


Allows for multiple users to connect at the same time through video and/or audio technology to participate in trainings, meetings, or presentations. Videoconferencing is extremely helpful in organizations with global sites that also need regulatory training.

Other WIKI pages

Visit OPM’s Training and Development Wiki site to access additional free training information.


Trade magazines/Journals

Trade magazines are a good way for employees to learn about issues, innovations, and best practices. Subscription costs continue to decline and many publications are now free. A few publications are provided free or at lower cost with an association membership. Often, a paper subscription comes with online access to the same content. The lists below provides examples of trade magazines and journals by professional discipline.

Learning & Development and Human Resources Professionals

I.T. Professionals

Education Technology Professionals

Supervisors, Managers, and Executives


Development Opportunity


On-the-Job Training

Hands on learning experience for employees to use required equipment and resources as they learn the job. This method of training would be the most effective learning environment for employees because they transfer learned skills onto the job as they gain the requisite knowledge and skills through instruction.

Train the Trainer Program

Learning experience where employees share and/or train their colleagues on skills they learned through training or self-discovery. The employee is labeled as the trainer with subject matter expertise for the particular topic and is designated to train other employees in the future.

Cross-Training (e.g., Details, Developmental Assignments, Special Projects)

Training that covers several tasks within a department or office. Employees in the department will master their own assigned tasks and the tasks of their co-workers in the event that assistance or additional coverage is needed in that area. Cross-training can typically be accomplished internally with more senior or experienced employees being the trainers. Also, cross-training can be used at any time, especially when there’s high turnover and vacant positions cannot be backfilled immediately because of extenuating circumstances.


An experiential development process which facilitates change and growth in both individuals and groups. In Federal government, coaching is utilized to address professional or business-related challenges. Through structured dialogue, coaches assist their coachees to deepen their insights and translate those insights into actions. Coaches apply specific techniques and skills, approaches, and methodologies that enable the coachees to develop their goals and design actions to achieve them. The coachee drives the coaching agenda, and is ultimately responsible for the outcome of the coaching engagement.

OPM in partnership with the Chief Learning Officer's Council has established The Federal Coaching Network to cultivate an environment of continuous learning and individual and organizational performance excellence by promoting positive leadership practices. Visit The Federal Coaching Network page for more information about the network and coaching in general.

In-house training, including brown bag lunches

An excellent way to provide training to a large group at no cost. Facilitators for in-house training must be the subject matter experts (SMEs) of the training topic. The SMEs must demonstrate outstanding knowledge and skill on the topic area through work tasks and competency levels.

Brown-bag lunches are a good way to invite employees to training events. In these voluntary one-hour sessions, individuals bring their lunch and learn about the presented topic.

Employees designated to facilitate these training events also gain valuable leadership and facilitation skills to help them in their professional development.

Professional groups and communities of practice

Agencies may have various professional development /affinity groups or communities of practice that employees can take advantage of to increase their knowledge and skill-sets in a specific field of study. Toastmasters International is one example of a group that can help you develop presentation skills, which are essential to any job. There is a minimal fee for this group (See you agencies Toastmaster representative.). 

Professional associations outside of your agency can be another avenue for development. Membership fees may apply for these associations.

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Additional Ideas

  • Invite managers or executives into a meeting to discuss a pre-identified topic or highlight agency accomplishments.
  • Provide opportunities for networking:
    • Share links to professional association events.
    • Invite subject matter experts (SMEs) from your field or other fields to meet with your employees. The SME sessions can occur during staff meetings, brown bag lunches, or retreats; and focus on various topics of interest (including recent work challenges) or more general information.
    • Host inter-agency events to promote dialogue and deepen relationships for future collaborative efforts.
    • Organize cross-agency meetings to allow people of similar fields of study/work (E.g. grants management) to share their thoughts on best practices.
  • Organize a book club. Book clubs can help to:
    • Increase/expand employee’s knowledge and skills
    • Increase camaraderie among employees
    • Build leadership skills through facilitating group discussions, organizing events, and etc. 
    • Some book vendors or agencies may have established book clubs that you can join or provide assistance in identifying guest authors to speak during your book club session.Follow these simple steps to create your book club. 
  • Invite the Federal Executive Board or DHS Fusion Center Directors to visit, so prospective leaders can find out how agencies are collaborating in the community.

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