Investing in a New Workforce Training and Education Program

CNIC’s investment in a highly valued Training and Education Lifecycle program solidifies a strong commitment to its biggest asset—workforce personnel.

By Ray Davis, Corporate Enterprise Training Activity Resource Systems (CeTARS) Program Manager, Commander, Navy Installations Command

Commander Navy Installations Command (CNIC), a United States Navy (USN) organization, has invested in a Training and Education Lifecycle program to optimize our immense capabilities. CNIC’s primary mission is regional shore installation management, in direct support of operational forces and readiness. CNIC oversees a diverse global workforce of more than 60,000 military, civilian, foreign national, and contract employees at 70 installations, divided among 11 region commands around the world (please download Figure 1: Organization Workforce Breakdown below). Since a majority of our training is unique to our organization, these skill sets are not in the catalog of training delivered by the USN’s individual skills training lead – Naval Education and Training Command (NETC).

The CNIC Training & Readiness Directorate, established in 2006, ensures enhanced enterprise mission readiness by planning, coordinating, and executing training, exercises, and readiness assessments of Navy Installations. In addition to providing daily training guidance and support throughout our enterprise, our directorate has established the Shore Training Center (STC), Shore Operations Training Group (SOTG), and the Small Arms Training Center (SATC). The STC is a CNIC Schoolhouse for Individual Training Solution development, piloting, delivery, and curriculum management focused on emergency managers and senior shore leaders; The SOTG delivers Mobile Training & Assessment solutions to installations and regions; The SATC delivers high-risk, initial and sustainment weapons training in support of anti-terrorism and force protection requirements of shore and fleet enterprises.

These headquarter training centers are staffed with a cadre of professional instructors and facilitators who provide knowledge- and performance-based classroom and mobile training, focused on integrated training, teambuilding, and standardized training practices. Specifically, they support increased region and installation readiness with tailored training and exercises of validated shore requirements and process improvement. These include initial and sustainment training for Senior Leadership, Emergency Management, and First Responders (Fire, Police, Environmental, Natural Disaster, etc.). Many of our installations are self-sustaining. Senior leadership and shore installation staffs had to be familiar with their roles to ensure a safe working environment on Department of Defense (DoD) Installations.

Training & Education (T&E) Program Policy

In February 2012, we established the baseline data and a standardized process for requirements management, which resulted in the promulgation of the organization’s Training & Education (T&E) Program Policy. This policy provides standardized guidance for all training program managers to execute training responsibilities. The content of this directive derived from analysis of numerous programs over a six-year period.

Although there has been an enormous amount of effort applied to each program’s training needs, prior to 2007, no robust standardized organizational training capability existed for the workforce. Training requirements and management processes were “stove-piped,” developed in the isolation of their own program, without considering how it might function with other existing or future training programs. Based on the differences in region structure, requirements varied across locations for similar programs. Non-standard, ad hoc requirements and processes resulted in the inability of CNIC senior leadership to assess training readiness and make effective resourcing and execution decisions. Our organization responded to the issue by designing and deploying the Training-to-Task (T2T) functional framework to achieve the following:

  • Identification and prioritization of individual training requirements for all mission areas
  • Alignment of individual training requirements to organizational tasks and job competencies
  • Identification of training gaps that are required to accomplish higher authority directives
  • Reflection of training requirements data in the organization’s performance management systems

Our T&E team executed T2T in three Phases. Phase I began in September 2008 with a data collection initiative to establish the current state of training throughout the enterprise and identification of the total force requirements. After two years of exhaustive research and training validation, the completed T2T design framework was in place, and implementation of Phase II began. This eight-month process included significant interaction with enterprise program leadership. We were able to show program managers their validated individual training events and proper force alignments, to ensure they could capture real-time training needs. In June 2011, Phase III kicked off to codify and organize requirements data to support systems integration, reporting, and performance measurement. Phase III is an ongoing effort that will assist program managers with identification of future training shortfalls and trainer roles. We had full organization integration by September 2012. This phase is critical for development and execution of organizational policy and tracking data in mandated authoritative data systems. Our organization also maintains this data in an electronic requirements repository available through the organization’s knowledge management portal.

Investment and Results

The implementation of the T2T program had an investment of just under $2 million (total program cost). It is too early to define the actual Return on Investment (ROI), but implementation of standardized approaches and practices will ensure we are conducting validated, mission-focused training. T2T did result in some immediate ROI. One example was identification of annual refresher/recertification training for certifications that were good for three to five years. Another example was “all-hands” training in areas designed for specific product-line employees. Although these may not seem like big savings, over time they add up to a reduction in the travel budget, person-hours that are more productive, and potential reductions in compensatory time and overtime.

The T2T initiative has received recognition outside of the military training arena. The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) recently honored CNIC with an Excellence in Practice (EIP) Citation, at a ceremony in Denver, CO, during ASTD’s International Conference & Exposition. The EIP citation recognizes organizations with new and/or proven practices in the categories of career development, diversity and inclusion, integrated talent management, learning technologies, managing change, organizational learning, performance improvement, technical training, training management, and workplace learning and development.

Included in the T&E guidance is the process for validating and establishing new training requirements within our training centers.With any new training triggers (events suggesting a training deficiency), and prior to the development of any new courses of instruction, we validate the requirement and identify potential training that may exist across DoD or civilian sources with which we could establish a partnership and gain additional resourcing efficiencies. Ultimately, the training solution will require a Job, Duty, and Task Analysis (JDTA), Front-End Analysis (FEA), Business Case Analysis (BCA) and Training Project Plan (TPP); the blueprint for developing the new course of instruction.

The implementation of the T&E program is a sound investment of person-hours and resources. With the implementation of the T&E policy and the standardization of organizational training centers, we will be able to establish a cross-functional relationship with the various training program managers. Additionally, CNIC will be able to share “best practices” across all programs. The development of the T&E program did not happen overnight. To set program policy and define requirements, we had to determine many things, including how we were conducting training and what skill sets we needed to address.

The T&E Program incorporates the training lifecycle, curriculum development, training delivery methodology, and organizational training management processes. Execution under the guidelines of the T&E program policy will yield significant savings in the organization’s future budget plans.Despite their importance to our overall mission, departmental program managers who specialize in workforce training development and implementation are facing diminishing resources.

CNIC’s investment in a highly valued Training and Education Lifecycle program solidifies a strong commitment to its biggest asset—workforce personnel. The only way we can ensure success is to properly plan and train to all required skills. Focus on our personnel and proper alignment of a tight budget is critical. It is difficult not to engage in a profitable investment—a strong professional workforce!

Ray Davis is the Corporate Enterprise Training Activity Resource Systems (CeTARS) program manager, Commander, Navy Installations Command. In addition, he currently is working with the enterprise training centers and external stakeholders to collaborate on the development and implementation of processes and business rules, necessary to enable CNIC Headquarters to provide oversight and conduct assessments.

Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.