MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
There are many professional development opportunities for civilian employees at Marine Corps Base Quantico. That’s the message David Newman, branch head for Civilian Manpower within the base command, hopes to get out, following a growing concern among base federal workers that professional growth opportunities are limited.
"Employees have been communicating to [Col. David Maxwell] base commander, through the climate survey and recent town halls that there are few training opportunities for civilians," said Newman. "In one part, that’s correct, as the [money] for some civilian training has dried up. Although just because funding is really tight, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities out there."
For example, the Human Resources and Organizational Management website, www.hqmc.marines.mil/hrom/UnitHome.aspx, lists nearly a dozen on-site professional training courses that are free and available to all civilian employees. Interested participants can access the list by visiting the "Organization and Workforce" page and then selecting the "HROM-Sponsored Training" tab and the clicking on a desired course to register.
Additionally, the Academic Degree Program, which is similar to the Tuition Assistance program for Marines, offers civilians an opportunity to receive tuition funding for college classes and certifications that relate to their job. Since that money comes out of Headquarters Marine Corps’ budget, it must be approved by a supervisor and through a command workforce development administrator.
Funding for the Marine Corps Civilian Leadership Development Program has gone away over the last couple of years. Typically, the program would be open to base and tenant commands, and would pay for various leadership enhancing classes.
"The problem is the funding for CLD comes from the Lejeune Leadership Institute, and that money has [dwindled] in
the last few years," Newman said. "It’s a huge shock. One day we’re able to afford it, the next we’re not, and employees don’t understand why all of the sudden it’s no longer feasible."
Despite tightening budgets, civilian employees and supervisors are urged to be proactive in taking advantage of the opportunities that are available. He said every employee and their supervisor should establish an Individual Development Plan each year. The form, which is available on the Total Workforce Management Service, allows the employee and manager to develop a plan that sets and measures goals. By documenting a growth strategy, Newman said, supervisors will have more accountability in developing their employees, which he said is critical and can be used to help justify funding for training.
"Every supervisor should be working with their subordinates to develop them and to grow them because they need to grow somebody who can step into their shoes when they leave," Newman said. "Also, employees want and need that. "
Aside from the HROM website, information on available training courses is typically communicated to a division or section training coordinators, with the intent that it will be passed down to supervisors and then employees. Newman said they are working on more efficient ways to get the word out in a snapshot format. However, avoiding confusion can be challenging because each command allocates training money differently.
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