Science Support

370.410.8 - Long-Term and Extended Training

This chapter establishes policy, specific procedures, and assigns responsibility for long-term and


OPR: Admin/Office of Personnel

1. Purpose. This chapter establishes policy, specific procedures, and assigns responsibility for long-term and extended training.

2. Definition. Long-term training is defined as administrative, managerial, scientific, or technical training of a full-time or part-time nature extending longer than 120 days (960 hours) in either a Government or non-Government facility. Extended training (non-Government training for less than 120 days) is also subject to the requirements of this chapter. Extended training includes:

A. Full-time training for periods shorter than 120 days, yet which is of substantial length, such as a semester or quarter of full-time academic training.

B. Part-time academic study, during duty or after hours, which: totals 12 or more semester hours (or equivalent) in a 1 year period, is of a "program nature" over an extended period of time, or involves the meeting of specific course requirements.

3. Policy. Long-term and extended training may be used only when it can be clearly shown that such training is the most effective and economical way to obtain the needed competencies to meet present and projected program needs. The goals of long-term and extended training are to:

A. Provide accelerated development of administrative, managerial, scientific, or technical skills for employees possessing the potential to meet current and future USGS work force needs.

B. Improve employees' job proficiency by developing the necessary competencies, not otherwise available, which are required to carry out the organizational mission and to meet program requirements.

C. Develop and upgrade employees' professional capabilities and keep them abreast of advancements in their field.

4. Responsibilities of the Headquarters Personnel Office. The Headquarters Personnel Office will:

A. Determine if selections for long-term training are to be competitive or noncompetitive, based on documentation submitted by divisions. (See Paragraph 7. below.)

B. Provide guidance to divisions in the development of training opportunity announcements for individual, division-sponsored training programs.

C. Establish the appropriate area of consideration for a competitive training opportunity. (See Paragraph 7.A.(1).).

D. Assist divisions in the establishment of evaluation criteria, advise them regarding the requirement for an evaluation panel, and facilitate panel activity.

E. Maintain records of long-term training selections and activity and report annually to the Department.

5. Review of Long-Term and Extended Training Needs.

A. A systematic review of all long-term and extended training needs must be conducted by divisions at least annually. This review can be accomplished in conjunction with the annual survey of training needs. Organizational needs as related to the present and projected work force as well as the individual developmental needs of employee's should be considered. Sources for available programs include:

(1) Long-term programs coordinated by the Department.

(2) Long-term and extended college and university programs.

(3) Any other long-term and extended programs intended to add to or update the scientific, technical, managerial, or administrative skills of USGS employees.

B. Before deciding to use long-term or extended training, all divisions and offices must first consider whether one of the following alternatives can meet their needs:

(1) Recruitment of fully qualified individuals with the necessary competencies to meet work force needs.

(2) Use of available, fully-trained employees in lieu of long-term training.

(3) Use of job rotation, short-term training, or part-time training as a means of obtaining needed competencies.

6. Documentation of Long-Term and Extended Training Needs. Based on information indicated in the annual survey of training needs or in response to other supportable needs, divisions should report their long-term and extended training needs with the following information to the Headquarters Personnel Office:

A. A statement of the long-term or extended training objective, with an assessment of the organization's current level of competencies available to meet the objective. In making the assessment, consideration should be given to projected turnover in current positions and to the establishment of new positions resulting from program changes for which new competencies will need to be developed.

B. A justification for choosing long-term or extended training as the most efficient and economical means of achieving the stated objective. (See 5B(1), (2), and (3) above.)

7. Nature of Consideration and Selection.

A. Upon receipt of the proper documentation from divisions, the Headquarters Personnel Office will determine whether selection for the training program will be conducted on a competitive or non competitive basis. In either case, selection of employees will be made without discrimination for any reason such as race, religion, color, national origin, sex, or other factors unrelated to the need for training.

(1) Competitive. The USGS merit promotion plan is applicable to the following training situations:

(a) A target position has been identified to which the employee will be assigned at the conclusion of the training.

(b) The purpose of the training is to provide additional competencies for one or more employees to meet projected work force needs. A target position has not been identified.

B. Long-term or extended training will be competitively announced within certain areas of consideration. Because training is funded organizationally, the area of consideration will be drawn along division lines. To provide the training opportunity to the greatest number of employees possible, a division will always advertise at the nationwide division level, unless an exception to this requirement is obtained from the Headquarters Personnel Office. Based on valid documentation supporting the need to restrict the area of consideration, a division may receive approval to advertise the training opportunity on a regional basis. Documentation submitted to the Headquarters Personnel Office should include evidence of a sufficient number of available candidates within the regional boundaries, as well as a rationale for not offering the training opportunity nationwide. If advertised at a regional level, the training will be coordinated by the servicing personnel office.

(1) Noncompetitive. Competition for long-term and extended training may not be necessary when an employee is serving in a one-of-a-kind position and has unique qualifications and recognized expertise in a particular specialization related to the proposed training program. In such instances, long-term training may be appropriate to keep the employee abreast of technological advances and/or to increase the proficiency of the employee in his/her area of specialization. After the training assignment, the employee would return to his/her original position. In this instance, a waiver of the requirement for competition for selection for long-term and extended training is necessary. A request for a waiver of competition must be submitted to the Headquarters Personnel Office with the following information:

(a) The uniqueness of the position and the incumbent which warrants consideration of the noncompetitive selection of the employee for long-term or extended training.

(b) The objective of the training assignment in terms of the competencies to be acquired by long-term or extended training, how the competencies acquired will be used by the employee after returning to the job, and a justification for choosing long-term or extended training as the most efficient and economical means of achieving the stated objectives.

(c) An outline of a recommended training program.

8. Prohibited Uses of Long-Term or Extended Training. See SM 370.410.4.2 for prohibited uses of long-term and extended training through non-Government facilities.

9. Status During Long-Term or Extended Training and Payment of Expenses. The trainee will remain in a pay status during the period of long-term or extended training and will continue to earn annual and sick leave and be covered by health and life insurance benefits. In addition to the cost of the trainee's salary and tuition, the sponsoring division/office may pay other reasonable costs directly related to the training such as library fees, laboratory fees, books, materials, and supplies. Per diem and travel costs to and from the place of training may also be paid. The trainee may also receive subsistence payments for the period of training, or if less expensive, the cost of the transportation of household goods.

10. Continued Service Agreement. Any trainee selected for long-term or extended training must sign a written agreement to continue his/her employment with the Department of the Interior for at least three times the length of the period of training. When the training involves particularly high cost or other unusual factors, the required service period may be extended by the Headquarters Personnel Officer based upon recommendation by the division chief. A trainee who fails to fulfill his/her service agreement is required to pay to the Government the percentage of total training costs proportional to the percentage of the agreement not completed.

11. Performance Standards. If the period of training is greater than 120 days, the trainee must be covered by performance standards which reflect requirements for: submission of periodic evaluations by the trainee, completion of projects, satisfactory grade point averages, and other pertinent training-related items.

12. Individual Development Plan. All trainees must have a documented plan of their long-term and extended training assignments. For those in training for longer than 120 days, performance standards will satisfy the IDP requirement. Trainees without performance standards covering their period of training should complete IDP's, outlining the courses to be taken to meet the needed competencies.

13. Evaluating the Results of Long-Term and Extended Training. Both the trainee and supervisor will evaluate the training in terms of its effectiveness in meeting the training objectives for which it was designed.

A. For training periods greater than 120 days, the trainee should complete written evaluations, on a quarterly or semester basis, as directed by the performance standards. Information should be provided regarding the trainee's progress in meeting the training objectives and the success of the training facility in providing effective training.

B. Upon completion of all long-term and extended training, both the trainee and his/her designated supervisor will evaluate the total training program addressing the following:

(1) Whether the stated objective(s) of the training was met.

(2) Whether new or improved competencies were acquired.

(3) How the new or improved competencies will be utilized on the job.

(4) Whether the new or improved competencies could have been obtained in some other way and at less cost to the USGS.

(5) Whether the continued use of the training facility is recommended.

The final evaluations will be submitted to the personnel office coordinating the training.