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Article 19: Training

Section 1

A. Training and development of employees is a matter of significant importance in carrying out the mission of the Agency.  Training is intended to enable employees to perform their official duties at the maximum level of proficiency and prepare for advancement.  In recognition of this, the Employer will, within budgetary constraints and workload considerations, make training available in accordance with merit systems principles and applicable laws, rules, regulations, and the provisions of this Article.

B. The Employer is responsible for determining the training needs for employees, determining the kinds of training to be provided and facilities to be used, and selecting and assigning employees for training.  The Employer will determine how training funds and opportunities can best be utilized to maximize the usefulness of such training for the Agency, consistent with the goal of providing appropriate training to employees.

C. In accordance with 5 C.F.R. § 410.306, the Employer will maintain criteria for the fair and equitable selection and assignment of employees to training consistent with merit system principles specified in 5 U.S.C. § 2301(b)(1) and (2).  The Employer will notify the Union within ten (10) business days of the establishment of any new criteria under this section, and bargain to the extent required by law.

D. All training must be approved in advance. The Employer will reasonably consider an employee's requests for training that supports the Employer's goals by improving organizational performance at any level of the agency, including training that:

1. Supports the agency's strategic plan and performance objectives;

2. Improves an employee's current job performance;

3. Allows for expansion or enhancement of an employee's current job;

4. Enables the employee to perform needed or potentially needed duties outside the current job at the same level of responsibility (and grade); or

5. Meets organizational needs in response to human resource plans regarding organizational and/or program changes.

E. To request approval to attend such training, an employee will complete a Request for Training Form SEC-182.

Section 2

A. Employees are encouraged to participate in professional activities of their occupation.  The Employer will approve an employee's written request for annual leave, leave without pay, earned credit hours and/or earned compensatory time to participate in training, professional meetings, professional development, conferences, or continuing education courses unless the employee's absence would have an adverse effect on staffing, workload or mission requirements.  The Employer will reasonably consider, and may approve, an employee's request for duty time in appropriate circumstances for the activities described above, and will give serious consideration to requests where the training is directly related to the employee's official duties.

B. The Employer, subject to the availability of funds, will continue to offer attorneys and accountants the opportunity to obtain job related mandatory continuing education credits, internally, online through service providers such as the following:  Practicing Law Institute, Checkpoint Learning, and West LegalEd Center.  The Employer agrees to notify all attorneys and accountants, at least annually, that this service is available and how to obtain a password.  To the extent possible, the Employer will seek continuing legal education accreditation for any continuing professional education courses it offers to these employees.

Additionally, employees may seek approval to attend outside course offerings, consistent with SEC policies.

C. To the extent the Employer or OPM establish that employees must be members of particular professional societies and/or organizations (for example, attorneys and CPAs) in order to be employed in a SEC position, or as a practical matter SEC encourages employees to hold professional licenses and/or credentials (for example, Certified Fraud Examiners) that will be used in the performance of their job duties, the Employer will reimburse employees for their dues, up to a maximum of $400 per year, subject to the availability of funds.

D. Consistent with workload and staffing needs, if the employees identified in Paragraph C are required to take continuing education classes to maintain their professional licenses or credentials, they shall receive administrative or duty time each calendar year, up to the maximum number of continuing education hours required by their licensing jurisdiction (but normally not to exceed 16 hours), to attend such classes that are related to their official duties.

Section 3

A. The Employer will provide information about SEC-sponsored training or educational programs to employees.  When a particular training opportunity is only offered to a particular office or group of employees, the Employer will provide the information about such opportunity to all employees in that group or office, consistent with the provisions of this Article. To the extent practicable, this information will be posted on the Employer's Intranet or via e-mail to the employees.

B. To the extent practicable, the Employer also will provide information to employees about training and conferences from other sources that the Employer makes widely available to bargaining unit employees.  This information normally will be posted on the Employer's Intranet.

Section 4

A. The Employer will maintain an Upward Mobility Program. The goal of the Upward Mobility Program is to provide opportunities for employees to advance so as to perform at their highest potential consistent with the needs of the Employer.  Subject to these needs and available resources, an Upward Mobility Program will be designed to provide certain current SEC employees with the opportunity to expand their career and promotion potential through a systematic, planned approach for career progression.

The Agency agrees that the Upward Mobility Program can be enhanced by providing tailored guidance, mentoring, and training in instances where it may be beneficial to help employees pursue these opportunities.  The program will be made consistent with the requirements of the position, the selectees' talents and aptitudes, subject to available resources.

B. Within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Employer and the Union will establish a joint committee for the purpose of making recommendations on program structure and operation and employee selection, with final decisions by the Employer.

C. After implementation of the Upward Mobility Program, the Labor-Management Forum shall monitor the program and make recommendations for any modifications to the program.  Additionally, the Forum shall recommend objective metrics for evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

D. The Employer will post seven Upward Mobility opportunities in the first year of this agreement, seven in the second year, and six in the third year for existing employees in lower graded positions.