Survey Manual

370.410.1 - Training - General Provision

This chapter outlines the responsibilities for training within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and provides general information concerning the employee development function.


OPR: Admin/Office of Personnel

1. Purpose. This chapter outlines the responsibilities for training within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and provides general information concerning the employee development function.

2. Policy. It is USGS policy to provide employees with needed training and development that will maintain or improve job performance and keep them abreast of scientific, technical, managerial, and administrative advances in their field.

3. Authority. 5 USC 41 authorizes training in Government and non-Government facilities and the acceptance of funds by employees for training from certain non-Government organizations. Executive Order 11348, dated April 20, 1967, provides additional direction on the manner in which the general statutory authority is to be used.

4. Definitions.

A. Training. The Government Employees Training Act defines training as "the process of providing for and making available to an employee, and placing or enrolling the employee in a planned, prepared, and coordinated program, course, curriculum, subject, system, or routine of instruction or education, in scientific, professional, technical, mechanical, trade, clerical, fiscal, administrative, or other fields which are or will be directly related to the performance by the employee of official duties (see definition below) for the Government, in order to increase the knowledge, proficiency, ability, skill, and qualifications of the employee in the performance of official duties." The training may be full-time or part-time, on or off duty, day or evening, or any other combination thereof. It may be given by the Department of the Interior, another Government agency, an educational institute, a manufacturer, a professional association, or by competent individuals or groups in or out of Government. It may be accomplished through correspondence, classroom work, conferences, workshops, supervised practice or other methods or combinations of methods.

(1) Standard Training. Standard training is general "off-the-shelf" training that is not specifically developed or tailored to the needs of the USGS.

(2) Nonstandard Training. Nonstandard training is specifically developed or tailored to the needs of the USGS.

B. Single Program. Instances of training which have a common purpose and which are authorized at the same time would normally be treated collectively as training within a single program. Two or more courses at an academic institution having a common purpose and occurring during the same term (quarter or semester) would normally be treated as training within a single program. Two courses of academic instruction taken during successive terms would not be treated collectively as training within a single program because each such course would normally be approved separately the employee's accomplishment in the first frequently being used as a factor in the decision whether to approve the second course. The foregoing statements about academic courses are not to be construed as authorizing an artificial fragmentation of what is essentially a single program in order to take advantage of an exception such as the one described above.

C. Official Duties. Official duties are approved duties which the employee is doing now or can be reasonably expected to do in the future. Future duties may be in the employee's current agency or in another agency if the employee will be separated under conditions entitling the employee to severance pay. The future duties may also be at the same or higher level and in a different job or occupation. For training related to future duties within the USGS, the training is authorized only if the employee is considered by the supervisor to have the potential to perform the duties of this type of job and if the USGS has a definite need for a trained person in such a job. Merit selection procedures must be used when applicable. (See SM 370.410.3.3A.) (The phrases "reasonably expected to do in the future" and "at the same or higher level and in a different job or occupation" apply to positions within the career ladder of the employee's current position, to a position for which the employee is already qualified, or to a position whose career ladder is no higher than the employee's current position.)

D. Training Through a Government Facility is training provided by, in, or through a Federal department, agency, or independent establishment for Federal employees. For purposes of coding Source of Training on the SF 182 (Request, Authorization, Agreement, and Certification of Training), this includes a non-Government vendor conducting training for Federal employees using Federal facilities. However, training conducted by non-Government vendors is still subject to the limitations described in SM 370.410.4.4 regardless of where training is held.

E. Training Through a Non-Government Facility. All training not meeting the above definition is "training by, in, or through non-Government facilities."

F. Individual Training Needs are developmental needs determined jointly by supervisors and employees at least annually based on the employees' performance of their duties. (See SM 370.410.2.4.)

G. Organizational Training Needs are needs covering a group of employees such as those resulting from anticipated technological changes, major equipment purchases, or attrition which will impact current skill levels within the organization. (See SM 370.410.2.5.)

H. Completed Training. Training is completed when the employee receives a certificate of completion, a grade for the course, or other satisfactory document and submits a copy to the supervisor. In those cases where none of the above is received, it is the supervisor's responsibility to determine that the training has been completed.

5. Responsibilities.

A. Training Committee - Headquarters and Field (see SM 308.12 for composition). Training Committee Representatives should be at a level high enough to be able to effectively communicate with and encourage top management to be responsive and receptive to planning and implementing training programs. Training Committee Representatives serve as a point of contact for the personnel office on all training activities for their respective organizations and are responsible for:

(1) Providing the necessary coordination within the organization for all training activities.

(2) Assisting supervisors and managers to identify training needs of their employees.

(3) Assuring that division/office supervisors have counseled their employees in accordance with this chapter.

(4) Consolidating and reporting to the appropriate personnel office all training needs identified within the organization. (See SM 370.410.2.2.)

(5) Providing information to the appropriate personnel office to assist in the development of bureauwide and/or regionwide training policies and procedures applicable to all divisions/offices.

B. Personnel Offices. The Headquarters Personnel Office and Field Personnel Offices:

(1) Interpret Office of Personnel Management, departmental, and USGS training regulations, policies, and procedures.

(2) Coordinate USGS training policies, procedures, and activities within their servicing area.

(3) Assist supervisors, managers, and Training Committee Representatives in the identification of training needs.

(4) Develop Headquarters or servicing area training plans based on identified training needs.

(5) Identify internal, Government, and non-Government sources of training to meet training needs and make arrangements to schedule such training with these sources.

(6) Approve all group training conducted in Headquarters or region/area including training conducted by other Government agencies and non-Government organizations. (Divisions may make contact with non-Government facilities only after they have consulted with the appropriate personnel office.)

(7) Approve training as appropriate. (See Appendix A.)

(8) Review and endorse requests for training requiring approval by the Bureau Personnel Officer.

(9) Maintain official training files including SF 182s, Request, Authorization, Agreement and Certification of Training; Individual Development Plans, 9-1688, as appropriate (e.g., Upward Mobility, Veteran's Readjustment Appointment, etc.); Survey of Employee Training Needs, 9-1893; training course evaluations; and training course announcements and catalogs.

(10) Prepare reports on training activities.

(11) Review all SF 182s for regulatory compliance and appropriateness of training.

(12) Assess the effectiveness of training programs during PMEs.

(13) Provide staff advice and assistance to the Training Committee and USGS management on all training matters.

C. Supervisors and Managers. Providing the opportunity for training is a basic responsibility of all management levels from first line supervisors to executive level managers. Supervisors and managers are responsible for:

(1) Assuring that all training they approve relates to organizational objectives.

(2) Assuring that all employees are trained effectively in order to perform their jobs satisfactorily.

(3) Developing their employees' career potential.

(4) Encouraging and giving recognition to self-development.

(5) Assuring that employees assigned to training are aware that they are required to attend and complete their training assignments as they are any other official assignment, and that they are held accountable for failure to complete the training assignment successfully.

(6) Assuring that when employees are selected for training which is required for promotion, the selections are made in accordance with merit promotion procedures. (See SM 370.410.3.3A(2).)

(7) Assuring that the progress of employees engaged in extended training is monitored or periodically reviewed.

(8) Assuring that employees returning to duty following a training assignment provide an account of that training.

(9) Complying with the training provisions of negotiated contracts of labor unions which represent their units.

(10) Counseling employees on career objectives and training needs at least annually in conjunction with their performance appraisal and assuring that information on self-development opportunities is distributed to them on a regular basis. (It should be emphasized that while the determination of the employees' training needs is a joint effort between employee and supervisor, the supervisor makes the final decision on the training needs determination.)

(11) Meeting with probationary period supervisors and managers not later than 30 days after the effective date of their entrance on duty to identify and document their training needs and plans.

(12) Using training needs identification to support requests for training funds.

(13) Assuring that SF 182s are submitted to the appropriate personnel office in advance of the beginning date of training. Where personnel office approval is required (training over 80 hours), SF 182s should reach the appropriate personnel office at least 1 week before the training begins.

(14) Assuring that cases in which training is not satisfactorily completed are reviewed to determine appropriate management action.

(15) Assuring that continued service agreements for employees assigned to training through non-Government facilities are properly executed and administered in accordance with SM 370.410.4.6.

D. Employees. The responsibility of employees for their own self-development must be clearly stressed. Employees must develop the ability to perform the current tasks of their positions competently and, through self-development, prepare themselves for advancement and possible reassignment. The procedure for the recording of self-development training is outlined in the 370.410-H, Training Handbook.

6. Failure to Complete Training. Employees who fail to complete approved training (Government or non-Government) should immediately notify their supervisors in writing of the specific circumstances and reasons. The supervisor will submit the employee's statement with his or her comments and recommendation through division/office channels to the servicing personnel officer, who will then determine what action is necessary, including recovery of all or part of the expenses of the training. Established procedures for the recovery of funds will be followed. (See SM 338.4.) Failure to complete Government training without official authorization may be cause for disciplinary action.

7. Computing Length of Training Time.

A. Full-time Training. Employees assigned to full-time training are counted as being in training the same number of hours they are in pay status or leave without pay (LWOP) status, up to a maximum of 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week, regardless of the number of hours spent in actual training. If the employee is part-time or intermittent and full-time training is directed by the USGS, the employee is in pay status for the time spent in training during duty hours up to a maximum of 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.

B. Part-time and After-hours Training. When employees are assigned to training on less than a full-time basis, or attend training after work, their training hours are equal to the number of hours they spend in class or with the instructor in the facility, e.g., an employee who attends a course which lasts 3 hours a week for 20 weeks could be counted as receiving 60 hours of training.

C. Correspondence Courses. Time spent in correspondence courses that employees take on their own time is not counted in computing training time. Only the time, if any, employees spend on correspondence courses during duty hours is counted as training time. Employees must have approval from their supervisors to spend time on correspondence courses during duty hours.

D. Union-Sponsored Training. Administrative leave may be granted to individuals for the purpose of attending union-sponsored training. The length of time and the circumstances must meet the criteria specified in the governing labor agreement or the criteria specified in Part 370.711.1.7B of the Survey Manual.

8. Training by Foreign Governments or International Organizations. Requests for employees to attend training outside the United States require clearance by the Department of State. Divisions/Offices and field personnel offices will submit requests to the Headquarters Personnel Office at least 6 weeks in advance of the training. Requests should not be submitted directly to the Department of State or the Department of the Interior.