Continuing Education Administrative Guidelines

Applicability


This Guideline shall be applicable to all supervisory personnel in Onslow County Government who hold positions at the Division-Head Level or higher. It shall not apply to employees of the organization who work for a department supervised by an elected official, unless that elected official independently implements this guideline within their department in writing. This Guideline does not apply to those persons not covered by the Onslow County Personnel Policy, including elected officials.

Purpose


Professional Development is the continuous process of acquiring new knowledge and skills that relate to one's profession, job responsibilities, or work environment. It plays a key role in maintaining trained, informed, and motivated employees, regardless of job classification.

Professional development encompasses several types of facilitated learning opportunities, including formal classes, conferences, workshops, seminars, teleconferences, online learning and audio-visual materials.

Department/Division Heads who attend training opportunities actually infuse the workplace with new ideas and creative ways of solving old issues. Training and Professional Development can also:
  • Improve morale
  • Improve the skills and knowledge levels for the County
  • Spark creativity and problem-solving
  • Help with knowledge transfer and succession planning

Professional Training Credit Courses - Review Process


Training courses will be reviewed by the Onslow County Training Officer and/or the Human Resources Director in conjunction with the Department/Division Head to determine if the courses qualify for professional training credits unless the course has already been approved by a recognized professional registration/certification Board. If a course needs to be reviewed for professional training credit, it must be submitted to Human Resources at least 2 weeks prior to the start of the class/conference/seminar. Although a class/conference/seminar may not qualify for professional training credits, it's at the Department/Division Head's discretion to attend the class/conference/seminar.

Possible Non-Approval Reasons


  • Determination that the program does not go beyond basic education,
  • Training course is deemed to be promotional,
  • Training course does not include qualified faculty or is otherwise educationally unsound.
  • Any training course that is not verifiable.
  • Repeat courses of the same material. Annual update courses such as the Institute of Government Personnel Employment Law Update would not be considered a repeat course.
  • Indirect subject matter that does not directly relate to the performance of the Department Head/Division Head's profession.
  • Committee meetings
  • Work experience
  • Independent study such as books or videos
Any individual who wishes to appeal the decision regarding continuing education matters must submit a letter of appeal to the Training Coordinator in Human Resources within 7 calendar days of the receipt of the decision. The individual may be requested to provide additional information or meet with the Assistant County Manager while he reviews the disputed matter prior to rendering a decision. The Assistant County Manager will issue a decision within 7 calendar days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of the Assistant County Manager shall be final.

Professional Training Requirements


All Onslow County Department Heads and Directors will be required to obtain 10 training credit hours to be completed between July 1st and June 30th of each year. Two of the ten professional training credit hours must enhance management or leadership skills. A management course would teach Supervisors about planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling an organization (a group of one or more people or entities) for the purpose of accomplishing a goal. A leadership course would instruct supervisors about the idea of one person enlisting the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.

Professional training credits that exceed the annually required ten hours will not carry over to the next year. A Professional Training Credit is one hour equivalent to 60 minutes of learning. Credit is awarded only for the educational presentation and for time devoted to questions and answers which allows for open dialogue on the topic. During attendance at a conference, credit is not awarded for time spent in introductory remarks, breaks, product exhibits, or program evaluation.

New Department/Division Heads credit hours will be prorated by quarter within their first year of employment with Onslow County. Depending on date of hire, for each full quarter, the new Department/Division Head must complete 2.5 professional training credits between their date of initial hire and the end of the fiscal year.

Professional Training Record Maintenance


The Onslow County Training Officer will maintain a record of the professional development hours completed by each Department/Division Head in a training database. A training file of each Department/Division Head will include a copy of a summary of the approved course, a copy of the certificate of completion, number of credits awarded and any other related documents.

Every year, the Onslow County Training Officer will schedule and pre-identify appropriate county courses for professional training credits such as the annual Disaster Ready Team training hosted by Emergency Services and the annual Accounting 101 class hosted by the Finance Department.

Instructor Professional Training Credits


The Human Resources Training Coordinator will review all lesson material and instructor qualifications to determine if the Department/Division Head is a qualified instructor involved in the planning and conducting of an education course or program that meets the criteria set forth in this policy. The Department/Division Head will earn two professional training credits for every one hour of teaching a qualified course.

Department/Division Heads are not required to hold advanced degrees in the training course, but must demonstrate the completion of appropriate education and training with regard to the topic presented. The course must be a minimum of a 60 minute classroom instructional session and designed to meet educational objectives.

Initial Implementation and Effective Date


This Administrative Guideline is effective March 1, 2012 for all employee Supervisors of record as of that date. During initial implementation, Supervisors shall be required to obtain 2.5 credit hours prior to June 30, 2012.

Training Reimbursement


Each Onslow County department/division administers its own training budget. Expenses for mutually agreed upon courses or training should be paid from department training accounts.

Possible Expenses


  • Travel
  • Meals
  • Accommodations
  • Tuition
  • Supplies
To be reimbursed for expenses, Department/Division Heads must adhere to the Onslow County Travel Reimbursement policy and submit expenses within 30 days of the course completion date.

Additionally, the following needs to be included in the reimbursement package:
  • Evidence that you have completed the course or training
  • A verified statement of tuition paid and other costs
  • A detailed outline of the information covered in the course

Meetings and Training/Class Time and Hours Worked


Attendance at lectures, meetings, training programs and similar activities will be determined whether or not as counted as work time according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Fair Labor Standards Act § 785.27 through 785.32.