HR University looks to gain college accreditation for agency training

Tuesday - 7/17/2012, 5:12am EDT

Kathryn Medina, executive director, Chief Human Capital Officers Council

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The Chief Human Capital Officers Council is working to let feds earn college credits for human resources training classes developed by the government.

It's part of the council's effort to professionalize the HR workforce through the HR University, said Kathryn Medina, the council's executive director, in an interview with Federal News Radio.

"We now have the opportunity to take our federally-focused training — training that's specialized to our HR professional roles — and vet and approve them, and then college accredit them so that our professionals can then market their skills towards a masters, bachelors or an associate degree," she said.

Kathryn Medina, executive director, Chief Human Capital Officers Council

Medina said the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and Strayer University have approached the CHCO Council about the possibility of offering college credit for courses created by agencies. She hoped other educational institutions would follow.

Accrediting federal HR training "validates the training content as collegiate level," she said. "It's combining college level with OPM-approved and makes that training much more valuable."

The initiative still is in its early stages, Medina said. The council and interested educational institutions have not decided which classes employees can take to earn college credit. The goal of the collaboration with universities and colleges is to make human capital careers more attractive.

"There are numerous reports out there that talk about the HR pipeline or the lack thereof," she said. "The truth of the matter is we are going to have to recruit top talent into the federal government, and particularly into those HR professional careers. So this absolutely will help us get closer to that goal."

UMUC and Strayer University did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A bigger HR University course catalog

The effort to add college credit for HR University courses is the latest development in the council's push to partner with colleges and universities.

Last year, the Catholic University of America began offering a human resources master's degree federal option through HR University. It also offers individual courses through the website.

Medina said the council is building out HR University by bringing on more courses both from private sector vendors and government agencies. The Office of the Director for National Intelligence, for example, plans to make available its large suite of performance management classes initially developed for internal use.

She said the ODNI courses will include training on communications and setting up performance management systems. They also will focus on skills for first-time supervisors and managers.

"I would estimate that when ODNI gets all of their courses uploaded onto HR University it will probably be the single most significant financial investment in HRU training by any agency," Medina said.

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