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Training and Development Policy

Individual Learning Account Pilot Initiative

A Learning Tool for the 21st Century

Appendix C: Synopses of Agencies' Federal ILA Pilots


This pilot is consistent with the SES 2000 goals to establish a strong, departmentally managed executive development program that includes executive development plans, formal education, training and mobility. The purpose of the ILA is to ensure that our SES workforce gives priority to participation in development activities annually. Cost for training will be borne by each bureau. Executives are encouraged to attain the 24-hour training goal.


DOD's Air Combat Command (ACC) funds 75 percent of the tuition costs for participating civilian employees. ACC guarantees a consistent level of financial support for employee directed self-improvement efforts that enhance organization and individual performance and results in improved mission readiness. Approximately 9,000 permanent civilian appropriated fund employees are covered. Eligible employees are both General Schedule and Wage Grade. ACC set aside resources to fund 75 percent of the tuition costs for selected series. Employees electing to participate fund 25 percent of the costs. Estimated funding for Fiscal Year 2000 is $400,000. Participation in the program is on a first-come, first-served basis.


The Indian Health Service headquarters (IHS/HQE) administrative staff increases Internet awareness and improves skill levels through the use of accounts of duty hours and funds that are set aside. The IHS/HQE contributed a portion of the average training dollar spent on each employee in fiscal year 1999 and set aside a total of up to eight hours a month of official duty time for each ILA. Approximately 35 employees from grade GS-4 to GS-13 in the IHS/HQE administrative staff are eligible to participate in this pilot. The ILAs promote increased use of Internet-based tools and resources and can increase workplace effectiveness.


Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) set aside up to $200,000 annually for Upward Mobility Program participants to use for their continuous learning and development. Approximately 200 employee trainees participate in the HUD Upward Mobility Program. Once these trainees reach their targeted position, they still require additional training to reach their maximum potential grade level. The ILA is used as a continuous resource to provide these employees the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be successful. The ILA pilot encourages employees to develop technology and/or leadership skills necessary to acquire core competencies for maximum career potential. Employees who are at their target level may participate in the ILA pilot.


Department of Labor's (DOL) ILA is intended to encourage employees to participate in lifelong learning activities and take charge of their learning and development. Seventy employees in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management in DOL's Boston/New York Region are granted 20 official duty hours to pursue lifelong learning activities. The ILA of official time set aside encourages and empowers employees to take advantage of learning opportunities. The job-related, no cost learning activities include:

  • online, web-based technical and non-technical courses;
  • self study courses covering human resources practices and procedures;
  • use of educational programs on audio or video cassette;
  • professional career counseling; and
  • college advisory services.

Employees develop performance learning goals that can be achieved using these learning activities. They may access many of these learning activities without leaving their workstations. The ILA pilot supports DOL's effort to establish itself as a Lifelong Learning Organization.


Three Federal Highway Administration organization units set aside ILA funds for approximately 30 employees for participation in the ILA pilot. Office of Professional Development (OPD) has a staff of 17 employees of various grade levels, education, and skills. OPD set aside $800 for each employee. Each OPD employee determines how to use their ILA and adds it to their performance objectives.

The Western Resource Center (WRC) in San Francisco, California has seven employees. WRC allocated $2500 for each participant's ILA. As WRC ILA participants create or update their Individual Development Plans (IDPs), they identify specific training objectives for their ILAs.

The Illinois Division in Springfield set aside five ILAs for the members of the Engineering Technology Team totaling $4000. Skill level and training needs of each team member will determine the distribution of the ILA.

The variety of organizational units and employees involved in the ILA pilots provides a broad base for evaluating the practicality and feasibility of using ILAs as an effective means of expanding learning and development opportunities for Federal employees.


Internal Revenue Service Information Systems (IS) employees participate in a career development program improving organizational and individual performance. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allocated up to $300,000 through the Information Technology Institute Fund (ITIF) to support the ILA Pilot. The pilot provides IS associates the opportunity to enhance their current knowledge and skill level to support their career development. Participants can acquire mission-related competencies through after hour's undergraduate or graduate level college courses needed to compete for positions requiring additional knowledge. The Director of the School of Information Technology will have overall management responsibility for the program. The Field Information Technology Institute in Cincinnati will administer the program within the Chief Information Office. Maximum amount of funds available for each employee will be based on the number of employees participating in the pilot.


Eligible IRS employees participate in Accounting Competencies ILA Program providing the opportunity to acquire the accounting competencies needed to compete for positions requiring additional accounting knowledge. The ILA applied to IRS employees who completed basic or entry-level accounting. Each participant has an opportunity to enhance their current knowledge and skill level to support career growth and development. IRS initially recommended $600,000 set aside for the pilot. Maximum allotment available for each participant is based on the total amount of funding and number of employees selected.


IRS sets aside $700,000 for their employees Career Growth Program to enhance individual career growth and development. This pilot enhances individual career growth and development that supports the overall mission of the IRS. IRS will allocate funds for selected participants. The Agency initially recommended $700,000 set aside for the pilot. Maximum allotment available for each participant will be based on the total amount of funding and number of employees selected.


Approximately 35-50 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees participate in a pilot developmental program, "New Skills/New Options", with set asides of $2000 for each participating employees' use. These EPA employees are in the administrative support classification series and are eligible for participation in the pilot project. The pilot focuses on scientific and technical offices within the EPA at the headquarters, regional, and laboratory levels. EPA set aside official time for classroom or other special training along with $2000 per participant to purchase learning opportunities. The ILA pilot is designed to increase support staff skills and developmental options. When fully implemented, New Skills/New Options will provide developmental guidance to a total administrative population of nearly 2,000 employees. It is one of five developmental initiatives under EPA's comprehensive Workforce Development Strategy.


OnLine University ILA

General Service Administration (GSA) established an agencywide learning account through its OnLine University virtual campus by setting aside $140,000 for courses for all employees. The GSA OnLine University is a portal where employees enter a virtual campus that gives access to a broad range of courses. This broad range of courses and ready accessibility increases learning through technology. The learning account provides the opportunity for employees to increase skills and competencies. All agency employees have access to the GSA OnLine University and may take any offered course online anytime, anywhere.

Federal Supply Service ILA

GSA also provided an ILA set aside funding for Federal Supply Service (FSS) GS-1102 Workforce to meet new job qualifications. FSS set aside funding for each ILA participant to take two mandatory training courses to meet new job qualifications. Employees in the GS-1102 job series are better able to meet the new qualification standards using the ILA funding. FSS organizations, working with their GS-1102 employees, determine the employee's interest in participating in the project. They provide information on formal education, training programs, and job experience that can be developed into an annual Personal Career Plan for the participants.


Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) set aside 40 official duty hours to increase employees access to and use of emerging learning technologies. The pilot covers all OSHRC employees. Each has a 40-hour set aside which may be used for the following development areas:

  • programmatic, technical, and professional development for attorneys and administrative law judges;
  • leadership skills;
  • technology skills for administrative employees;
  • fiscal, administrative, personnel, and public information;
  • team-based training for ad-hoc teams;
  • special purpose competency-based training for eligible employees; and
  • general training of employees in communication and office automation.

Supervisors worked with each eligible employee to establish training activities for their ILA. The pilot supports the agency's commitment to identify and fulfill annual and long-term training needs.


OPM's Retirement and Insurance Service (RIS) is expanding its efforts to enhance employees' skills needed for success under the Retirement Systems Modernization Program. All 107 employees in RIS's Retirement Claims Division (RCD) are participating in this pilot. As part of the modernization program, an RCD Future Skills Committee identified six skills necessary for successful performance over the next decade. The ILA pilot introduces the participants to the concepts of self-directed and life-long learning, provides an ILA for each employee, and provides them access to mentors and other forms of assistance to encourage self-development in six skill areas. This ILA effort not only encourages self-development in these six skill areas, but also expands on-going efforts to focus employees' energies on acquiring new skills necessary for success under the Retirement Systems Modernization Program.


SSA ILA set aside duty hours to improve employees' core competency skills using an internally developed self-assessment tool and available training resources. Employees used a self-assessment tool to determine their current level of proficiency.Duty hours are set aside allowing participants to take training needed to improve the competencies as identified by the tool. The pilot covers employees in the Denver Region and a headquarters component in Baltimore, Maryland, representing approximately two percent of the total workforce.

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