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Career Development Program Summary Banner

Program Summary

    As early as 1972, extending to 1989, ad hoc committees on Natural Resource Management (NRM), Career were formed to primarily handle training issues associated with the fledgling NRM Program.

    In 1989, CECW-ON formed a chartered Natural Resource Management Career Development Steering Committee, to provide guidance in programs and products affecting the careers of the NRM community. As a steering committee, problem areas and concerns are identified and, if within the realm of the committee, resolution is attempted.

    The goals of the committee are:

    1. Provide all NRM personnel with information concerning training avenues and career enhancement opportunities.
    2. Develop the “Corp culture” within all NRM personnel. Acquaint new team members with the organization’s history, corporate objectives and basic organizational structure.
    3. Provide NRM team members the information that will allow them to make informed decisions regarding career opportunities as well as the tools needed for the team member to advance along their chosen career path.
    4. Position the Corps as an “employer of choice” for those in the field of natural resource management.
    5. Provide Management the opportunity to posture the workforce for changing dynamics and evolving missions through positive training initiatives and personal development.


    1989 First training needs survey conducted to determine training needs as defined by both employees and their supervisors.
    1991 Meetings conducted among eight resource agencies using the GS-025 series, laying the groundwork for a presentation to the Office of Personnel Management in an attempted bid to obtain professional status for the GS-025 work force.
    1992 An educational background survey was conducted to:
  • Determine the educational backgrounds of the professional NRM work force.
  • Provide baseline data and validation as attempts were made to professionalize the 025 series.
  • 1992-1994 Committee drafted and obtained HQUSACE approval on the Natural Resource Management Career Guide (EP 690-2-2). The guide provides the first comprehensive training and career guide for all NRM members.
    1995 Standard Organizational Structure (SOS) - Amid concerns that the new organizational structure would have negative impacts on the careers of NRM employees, the new structure actually proved to provide a multitude of opportunities for the NRM community.
    1995 The committee began to examine a completely new training system concept, outcome based, comprehensive, and multi-leveled. A complete curriculum was drafted and readied for HQ presentation. The program consisted of a core curriculum, taught early in an employee's career and included an unprecedented exportable component, which would be taken at the employee's home station.
    1996 As the newly formed Operational Manager's positions began being filled, a broad-based training need was discovered covering all aspects of operation, flood control, navigation, recreation, hydropower, and environmental stewardship. In cooperation with HQ, the NRMCDSC developed an outline for course content.
    1998 HQ was presented a straw man and curriculum guide based on the new training system concept. It was agreed to develop one exportable product to better understand the effectiveness of exportable training.
    1998-2000 Career Plateauing within the Corps' professional staff was studied by Dr. Bonnie Bryson under the auspices of the committee.
    1998-2000 Safe Self, a CD-ROM-exportable, outcome-based teaching aid was developed and fielded. The product was incorporated into ER 1130-2-0213 as a tool authorized to meet training and refresher requirements.
    1999-2001 The NRMCDSC Website was under design when the NRM Gateway Website was announced. NRMCDSC's ability to deliver information to its customer base through the stovepipe system has been problematic in the past. Goals include:
  • Delivering career information to the customer base allowing more informed career decisions.
  • Providing for two-way communication
  • Providing results of surveys and other COE information.
  • 2000-2001 Update of the Natural Resource Management Career Guide (EP690-2-2), to reflect the new Standard Organizational Structure (SOS) for Operations.
    2001 - 2002 Revision of ER690-2-2 Natural Resource Management Career Development Guide. Will be issued for agency comment in 2002. The committee began development of a broadbased, internet based orientation training product.
    2002 - 2003
  • The NRMCDSC has entered into a contract with Future Research to develop the first phase of a yet to be named exportable product. This product, designed for all NRM members will be an expandable product designed to bridge the gap between entrance on duty and the formal training offered by PROSPECT or other sources. It is doubtful that the first phase will result in a product, as it is designed to set up the infrastructure of the product and develop the curriculum.
  • Additionally, EP 690-2-2 was completed and offered to HQ for publication.
  • The NRMCDSC was offered an opportunity to coordinate with the Forest Service in the revision of the GS 0400 Biological Sciences Classification Standards. This revision, if adopted, should provide a path for professionalization for those positions and people that qualify.
  • 2004 The NRMCDSC PDT for the NRM On-Line Training Source (NRMOTS) completed negotiations and infrastructure of the NRMOTS product and began developing the specifics of the course, including the scripts.
    2005 The NRMCDSC saw the transition of the committee to a new chair, Marilyn Jones, Operations Project Manager, Tioga-Hammond and Cowanesque Lakes Project, Pennsylvania.
  • New Committee members were added and others transitioned off the committee.
  • Safe Self CD-ROM exportable training began revision and update, to include new scenarios.
  • The PDT for developing the new NRMOTS completed scripts and began the program design and development.
  • 2006
  • The NRMCDSC developed a letter for the Chief, Operations Division, USACE, to encourage Division and District Offices to embrace and utilize the GS 0400 series to convert GS0025 Park Ranger and Manager to the professional series who meet the positive educational requirements.
  • Update and development of the new Safe Self CD-ROM completed and new CDs to be distributed Fall of 2006.
  • Revamped the Gateway web pages to improve user ease and web page consolidation and understanding.
  • The NRMCDSC appointed a PDT to develop a recruitment CD for recruiting on college and university campuses.
  • The NRMCDSC PDT for the new NRMOTS continues with SME review and program design and development.
  • 2007
  • The PDT for NRMOTS continued work on editing and finalizing the scripts for the training source.
  • Filming of the Recruitment DVD was completed in October 2007. The goal for the PDT was to have the design, editing and a completed product for distribution in the fall of 2008.
  • NRM Distance Learning Consortium was assigned to Pat Kline to follow the Consortium’s discussions. Also, Pat was to seek potential sources for the Corps’ Rangers wanting to convert to the 401 series to gain the 24 hours of sciences to qualify. Further, through discussions, determine how the USFS and others were approaching conversion of their staff to the 401 series.
  • Completed review and update of web pages.
  • Items from the EN/NRM Conference included developing a Park Ranger CoP, a Natural Resources Certification Program, and Park Ranger Safety training.
  • A draft version of the Recruitment DVD was highlighted at the Conference with great success.
  • 2008
  • Conducted Teleconference in April 2008.
    • Discussed current success of the 401 series conversion. Highly successful, but a few areas were experiencing some issues with local CPACs and CPOCs.
    • Determined from the Learning Consortium, there are some colleges and universities providing the educational courses needed to obtain the 24 hours of required science credit.
    • Recruitment CD’s progress on schedule for fall release.
    • Career Guide’s progress had ground to a halt in HR. He is working to get it loose again and moving through the review process.
  • A face to face meeting held in August 2008 with updates on all major products being produced.
    • James Murphy and Mike LaFrentz will update the Gateway links and information on the Career Advancement website.
    • The latest version of the Recruitment DVD was reviewed and corrections and edits were sent to Tech Maters Inc. to complete.
    • Titles and package options and final title were discussed. The small folded case and small DVD were adopted, along with the title “Exciting Careers in Natural Resources Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”
  • DVDs were released in December 2008 and January 2009.
  • 2009
  • Mike LaFrentz left for a job with Bureau of Land Management and Phil Deffenbaugh became the new representative for SPD.
  • The Committee was tasked by Mike Ensch to develop the CP-18 Professional Development Map (PDM) for the 0401 series. Committee members were assigned specific parts of the Map with a deadline of 20 July 2009 to have final draft back to Mike. This task was completed in June 2009, with the Committee preparing to develop PDMs for the 0028, 0025 and the 0023 series in July 2009 face to face meeting.
  • A second run of the DVD had been requested for an additional 45,000. A Task Order was issued to Future Research to accomplish this work through Tech Masters Inc. Completion of replication and mailing is anticipated before end of August 2009.
  • 2010 New Members to the Committee were Vin Gualteiri, Adam Tarplee, Ben Bremer and Renee Stacey were selected to replace members rotating off the Committee from North Atlantic Division, South Atlantic Division, Maintenance Representative and Administrative Representative respectively.
  • Career Recruitment Brochure was updated by Adam Tarplee and Renee Stacey to replace the one HQHR had used for the last several years.
  • 2011
  • New Members to the Committee were Scott Hannah, Mike Key and Janet Lewis to replace members from LRD, NWD and MVD respectively.
  • Chair of the Committee met with the Park Ranger CoP and assisted with the reorganization of the Park Ranger CoP to be run by Park Rangers, utilizing the Committees and PDTs as subject matter experts for the CoP to draw upon.
  • Committee formulated their Task Matrix to include the Recreation Strategy Goal #4 Actions and Sub-Actions and identifying action items the Committee would work on. The Committee began moving forward with those items identified. Also, the Committee included action items from the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative in their Matrix and identified those actions they would move forward on.
  • 2012 Committee members participated in troubleshooting the NRMOTS Online Training Course under development. (2021 note – this online course was never fully developed or offered to the workforce).
    2012 Professional Certification Initiative – The Committee drafted a Project Management Plan (PMP) outlining a proposal to develop and maintain a NRM Professional Certification program for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Committee members canvassed their respective Divisions with a four-question survey to gather information. No further action was taken.
    2013 Committee members developed listing of FY14 options for Training Courses/Opportunities for Park Rangers, Natural Resources Management Specialists, Managers, Outdoor Recreation Planners and Technical Support NRM Training.
    2014 – 2020 The Career Advancement Committee went dormant shortly after the retirement of Committee Chair Marilyn Jones. There was hope that the Park Ranger CoP Advisory Board and/or the OPM CoP Advisory Board could fulfill the Committee’s niche, but those Boards have other pressing business that allows only a general focus on NRM career issues.
    2021 Park Ranger CoP Advisory Board’s Gateway Sub-Team reviewed and refreshed outdated general information on the Career Advancement page.

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