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Article 21 Training and Lifelong Learning
Posted On: Oct 29, 2013

Article 21

Training and Lifelong Learning

Section 1. General

The Department and Local 12 agree that employees of the Department are its

most valuable asset and a special workforce established to meet the needs of

American workers everywhere. As such, DOL bargaining unit employees are part of

a workplace that supports lifelong learning, self-growth, and professional

development. Accordingly, the Department and Local 12 agree that training and

career enhancement of bargaining unit employees are important objectives for

reaching the parties’ goal of a highly skilled and representative workforce. The

Department and Local 12 also agree that bargaining unit employee input is

essential to the successful development and implementation of training programs.

Thus, it is the policy of the Department that bargaining unit employees shall have

the opportunity to develop and advance to their full potential.

Training remains an assignment of work and is based on organizational needs.

a. Consistent with the Department’s mission and within budgetary constraints,

and in keeping with the principles of equal employment opportunity,

Management will develop and implement progressive programs, policies,

and strategies designed to enhance job skills and knowledge to:

(1) Aid bargaining unit employees in improving their performance in their

current positions and in new or changed positions resulting from

organizational and technological changes;

(2) Provide an internal pool of qualified candidates for consideration for

anticipated future vacancies in the Department; and

(3) Provide general career mobility opportunities within the Department.

b. The parties recognize that bargaining unit employees may develop and

enhance their current job skills and career opportunities in a number of

different ways, both formal and informal.

c. Each bargaining unit employee is entitled to develop an Individual

Development Plan (IDP) in conjunction with their supervisor and discuss

their interest(s) with any or all available resources, including: Human

Resource Offices, Agency Training Officers, career counselors, IDP

coordinators, employee development specialists, the Office of Continuous

Learning and Career Management, and others who may provide advice and

assistance in the preparation of the plan.

d. Following a request for an IDP to a first-line supervisor, parties shall work

together to develop a draft IDP within thirty (30) days. An IDP is a flexible

document jointly and voluntarily developed between supervisor or a

Department-designated management official and employee to be used as a

guide to an employee’s professional and career development.

e. Each IDP shall establish a series of milestones. The primary emphasis of the

plan will be, first to address the competencies (or knowledge, skills, and

abilities) needed for the bargaining unit employee to improve their ability to

perform in his/her current position; second, to address the competencies

needed for advancement beyond his/her current journey level; and third, to

prepare employees for new career opportunities within DOL. The final IDP

should normally be developed within thirty (30) calendar days from the date

that the draft is finalized, but not any longer than sixty (60) calendar days.

The signatures of both parties indicate their commitment to the completion

of the IDP.

f. Bargaining unit employees who have an approved IDP will normally be

granted duty time for any training or developmental activities identified in

their IDP. However, bargaining unit employees will not be penalized,

including during the performance evaluation process, for not completing or

not implementing an IDP. The scheduling of training will be consistent with

Agency mission needs.

g. Bargaining unit employees may also be granted variations within the normal

workweek, including leave without pay and absence without charge to

leave, for training when the primary objective of the training is to improve

the employees’ general skills, knowledge, and abilities, or career

development. The Department shall, to the maximum extent practical,

ensure the scheduling of training and education (over which the Department

has administrative control) so that it occurs during the normal workweek,

including travel to and from training.

h. To achieve the objectives of this Article, and to improve Labor -

Management relations, a joint Labor-Management Training

Forum/Committee shall be established within thirty (30) work days of the

effective date of this Agreement. This joint Labor-Management Training

Forum/Committee shall consider and recommend necessary changes to any

of the Department’s Training programs covered in this Article, as well as

provide advice so that training programs are effectively and efficiently

utilized at the Departmental and/or Agency level.

i. Management and Local 12 shall each name up to five (5) members to the


j. This Forum/Committee will establish the metrics to analyze success of the

Career Enhancement Program (CEP), as well as review the metrics and

results of the program, as described in the CEP MOU.

k. Either party may raise training and life-long learning issues at meetings of

Labor-Management Relations Committees at the Agency and Departmental


Section 2. Long-Term Career Development Programs

The Department will continue to provide a variety of long-term career development

programs to aid in succession planning and to help employees meet their goals for

professional development. These may include programs to address a myriad of

training interests such as overall entry level support staff, career and promotion

potential, and developmental programs targeted toward career progression. These

programs include, but are not limited to, the following:

a. The Professional Administrative Support Services Program (PASS), which

provides entry-level support staff with a combination of on-the-job-training

(OJT), classroom sessions and courses designed to develop or enhance


b. The Career Enhancement Program, which provides an opportunity to

improve and expand an employee’s career and promotion potential through

a systematic and planned approach to career progression. The CEP is

intended to serve as a bridge for employees at the GS-9 level and below to

transition into high level technical, administrative, or professional positions.

c. The DOL Mentoring Program, designed to develop a diverse, prepared

workforce by providing opportunities for employees to develop their career

goals. It involves a deliberate pairing of a highly skilled employee with an

employee who seeks growth and development in DOL.

Section 3. Career Enhancement Program (CEP)

a. Each Agency, within budget and program constraints, will consider on a

periodic basis and identify positions that will be utilized in the CEP. These

positions will meet CEP requirements. CEP will only be open to DOL

employees with career status in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area.

Career status is defined as three (3) years of Federal Service in the

competitive service. CEP is intended for DOL employees who, at the time of

selection, are at the GS-9 grade level or lower, and have no promotion

potential beyond the GS-9 grade level or are in a Wage Grade position. The

parties agree that pursuant to 5 CFR 536.102 (b) (1) employees who take a

downgrade to participate in CEP will not be eligible for grade retention or

pay retention.

b. The Human Resources Center (HRC) shall advertise all such positions, and

through merit based competitive procedures, shall consider and select

employees. These employees shall be temporarily reassigned into these


c. Assuming there are sufficient applicants, the first class established under

this Agreement will contain at least twenty–five (25) employees. The second

year of the Program there will be at least twenty (20) employees for that

year. For each and every year thereafter, there will be at least a total of

sixteen (16) employees selected to participate in the CEP, regardless of the

number of classes. The parties agree that the Forum/Committee described

in this Article will recommend whether one class or two classes are better

for the functioning of the Program, after the first class is selected.

Moreover, the parties agree that the Selecting Officials may, if they choose,

select both classes at the same time if two classes are ultimately

implemented, following recommendation by the by the Forum/Committee.

In all instances, where the number of applicants is less than the specified

minimum, the class shall consist of all of the qualified applicants. It is

agreed that the minimum number of class participants will be adjusted

upwards when additional positions become available.

It is anticipated that all CEP participants who successfully complete the

Program will be placed. However, if the targeted position is unavailable, the

CEP graduate will be given priority placement for the next position for which

he/she is trained. If the placement of this employee occurs, the next class

may be reduced by the number of employees placed.

d. The Agency agrees that the merit staffing selection certificates will be

provided to Local 12 at the conclusion of the CEP selection process.

e. Each CEP class will commence with a formal kickoff ceremony and a

Departmental orientation program.

f. Priority consideration for the CEP will be given to all candidates found to be

qualified for the previous class, but not selected. It is understood that this

priority consideration will only be for the next class following the nonselection.

g. The parties agree that the intent of the CEP is to train, develop and

eventually promote lower graded employees, who are in positions which are

graded at the GS-9 level or lower, with no promotion potential above a GS-

9, at the time of selection. The employees selected will enter into a

professional job series. In addition, the parties anticipate that the majority

of employees selected in each and every class will be bargaining unit


h. CEP participants shall be provided technical training and developmental

assignments to advance them to a higher position. An Individual

Development Plan (IDP) shall be developed for each of these employees.

Employees may be expected as part of their IDP to participate in activities

that will have to be completed on non-duty time, but the Department

and/or Agency shall pay all appropriate costs associated with such activities.

i. Mentors and Job Coaching will be provided to these employees in order to

assist in their development.

j. The Department shall provide training to improve generic skills such as

effective listening, communications, effective writing, and knowledge of

computers. Individual assessment and career counseling will be made


k. CEP participants will receive periodic evaluations of their progress as well as

an interim evaluation at the end of each rotation. These evaluations shall

include an assessment of the progress in the CEP plan, on-the-job

performance, special assignments, and training efforts. Upon completion of

the Program, a formal evaluation of the employee’s progress and

performance will be conducted.

l. Upon successful completion of the CEP, participants will be permanently

placed in their targeted positions. It is understood that no successful

applicant is guaranteed an immediate promotion. Employees who do not

successfully complete the Program must be returned to their previously held

position, or placed in a position equivalent to their previously held position

at their previous grade and rate of pay.

It is also agreed that all bargaining unit employees offered a non-bargaining

unit position as a result of the successful completion of the CEP will have

the option of declining that position. In the event a CEP graduate declines a

position outside of the bargaining unit, that employee may reapply to the

CEP. It is understood that the employee will not be given priority


m. A participant who fails to complete the Program, either due to voluntary

withdrawal or failure to achieve, will be returned to their previously held

position, or its equivalent, at their previous grade and rate of pay. Once the

employee is returned to their previously held position, or an equivalent

position, they cannot be subject to any disparate treatment as a result of

their unsuccessful completion of CEP. However, acts of misconduct

committed during the Program may result in removal from the Program

and/or subject the employee to disciplinary or adverse action, up to and

including removal from Federal service. Employees who fail to complete the

Program because of circumstances beyond their control will be guaranteed

a place in the next CEP class.

n. The Department will submit CEP semi-annual reports to Local 12 that detail

relevant statistical information.

Section 4. Equipment and Time for Continuing Education

Each employee may request Administrative Leave or duty time, not to exceed forty

(40) hours per calendar year, to pursue professional development and training

programs administered by organizations other than the Department. The

professional development or training program must be related to the employee’s

position or the next progressive position within that employee’s job series and/or

occupational series or related to the advancement of the Agency’s mission. If

requested, the employee must provide information related to the training, e.g. the

training website or brochures. Upon return to duty, if requested, the employee will

provide proof of training participation and/or completion. These forty (40) hours of

training time are separate and apart from normal training assigned by


a. The parties agree that approval for duty time will normally be granted,

absent compelling business reasons (to include coverage and/or mission

requirements). If the request for duty time is denied, management will

provide the reason for the denial in writing, with a copy to the Union.

b. With supervisory approval, employees may use the Department’s computers

to enroll in and take DOL sponsored electronic or online courses (e.g.,

Learning Link, Skillsoft, Webinars, etc.) on duty time.

Section 5. Reporting

The Department shall annually provide Local 12 with a copy of the annual report

on training provided to OPM within fifteen (15) calendars days after its submission.

Section 6. MOU

The Parties shall enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a

Labor Management Relations Forum/Committee that will evaluate and make

recommendations for changes to the CEP Program

AFGE Local 12
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