Academy History

In 2007 the National Park Service (NPS) Director created a Training and Development Steering Committee and asked the members to take a comprehensive look at how the NPS trains and develops employees. A year later the committee produced a report that was adopted by the National Leadership Council (NLC) in May 2008. As part of this report the Career Field Academy Program was established.

The Career Academy for Natural Resources is under development, with many modules currently being delivered. The NPS Director’s “A Call to Action” specifically identifies the academy program as a process to enhance professional and organizational excellence. Significant progress has been made in establishing the framework of the NPS Career Academy. This guiding framework for all of the career fields has been applied to the Career Academy for Natural Resources. The Career Academy for Natural Resources has been developed with guidance from the members of the National Park Service Natural Resource Advisory Group, sub-committee on training.

A three-day Subject Matter Expert (SME) workshop was held at the Horace Albright Training Center in April 2010. The workshop’s 20 participants were each nominated by their region to participate, along with representatives from the Associate Director, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science program offices.

The group focused on the “Big Picture” and developed a draft framework for the academy based on the defined competencies for the GS-7, 9, 11 & 12 natural resource specialist and program manager positions. Competencies for both discipline specialists and program managers were utilized, and essential learning opportunities identified to fulfill those competencies.

The SME workshop was very successful and resulted in a draft framework structure for the organization of learning opportunities. The draft framework includes both the subject matter knowledge and hands-on experience needed to meet the competencies for program managers and discipline specialists. Workshop participants drafted a framework for a blended learning course of study designed to provide developmental opportunities for core competencies at the entry/ developmental, journey, and advanced levels.

Continued work occurred to refine the draft framework into the Foundational and Intermediate Series that combined a blended learning approach. The goal was to have the foundational series framework and course of study designed in 2012 which was completed. Development of e-learning courses began in late 2012. Fully developed courses are being designed to ensure that the material learned will directly correlate to the targeted competency(s). Components of the academy will continue to be designed through a deliberative process including subject matter experts, program managers, field practitioners, and training managers.

The Career Academy for Natural Resources is currently under planning and construction. Please visit our Academy Developments page to learn about the latest progress.

For a look into the developmental history of the academy concept please request a copy of the National Park Service Learning and Development Report to the National Leadership Council from 2008. This recommendation from a servicewide team created the Career Academy. You can gain a copy of the report from the Natural Resource Training Manager in the Contacts tab.