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NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Logistics and Industrial Operations (AIR 6.0) employees looking to advance their careers can pursue their goals using a digital product recently recognized for its success in enhancing the health of the logistics workforce: the Professional Development Model (PDM).

Adrienne Somerville, Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC) Business Operations Director, credits PDM with helping her excel in NAVAIR’s competitive environment.

“I used PDM to understand my knowledge, skills and abilities and compared them to what was expected of me,” she said. “My competency career path was defined and I progressed from being a contracting officer, to a program manager and now business operations director.”

Developed by Air 6.0’s Human Capital Strategy and Management Team (AIR 6.0C), the online tool identifies gaps in skills, maps career pathways and tracks employees’ progress. Human Capital Management Government (HCMG) named PDM as the 2017 Best Workforce Development Program at its December conference in Arlington, Virginia.

HCMG hosts a series of events that bring together Federal and defense human resource professionals to discuss human capital, efficiency and innovation.  The award recognizes a program successful in advancing opportunities for high-performing employees, providing training and competency development to continuously engage and motivate an organization’s workforce.

“Our approach to professional development was put into place so that employees could better plan for their short-, mid-, and long-term career objectives, as well as document the required training and development needs of our workforce,” said Jessica Lynch, director of Human Capital Strategy and Management for NAVAIR’s Logistics and Industrial Operations Competency  (AIR 6.0). PDM is used by the team to conduct succession planning, identify workforce gaps and influence AIR 6.0 recruitment and retention processes.

PDM documents skills needed at each proficiency level for every position in the logistics workforce, along with the training and development needed to move between proficiency levels.  Developed several years ago, it is accessible to AIR 6.0’s workforce online via NAVAIR’s Knowledge Management Portal (KMP).

“The Career Guidebook currently houses all of our skill sets,” Lynch said.  “They are then integrated into a talent management tool—in this case the Talent Management Dashboard (TMD).  Employees can go into TMD and compare their skills against those listed for their position, as well as look at others they may possess.”

After completing the evaluation, TMD provides employees with an Individual Proficiency Assessment (IPA). The IPA is used by employees, supervisors and/or mentors to discuss their professional development needs, Lynch said.  It documents where the employee is most proficient and where there are gaps.  The Career Tracker, which is still under development, will also help employees identify career goals and objectives.

Employees can also evaluate themselves against the Office of Personnel Management’s Executive Core Qualifications: leading change, leading people, results driven, business acumen and building coalitions.

Somerville said the tool improved the quality of feedback on her job performance, making her a better NAVAIR employee.  “It empowered me so that I could collaboratively partner with my supervisor to develop and master my technical and leadership competence,” she said.

“Because of PDM, I know how knowledge, skills and even gaps directly correlate to the products delivered to the fleet,” she said. “My professional commitment went beyond just planning my future, but expanded to the contributions I knew I could deliver for the fleet.”

Documenting known requirements is easier with PDM.  “When the employee identifies career goals and objectives, we now have an idea of succession planning—who is interested in what future work.  We now have an indicator that tells us that AIR 6.0 may need to hire if an employee has a skills gap that cannot be taught within a specific time,” Lynch said.

Total Force Management/6.0 National Training Program Manager Susan Gatton said she uses PDM to advise employees and plan the future workforce.  “It provides my team with a greater ability to target opportunities to known needs, identify future skills, and improve succession planning.  It allows us to expand our knowledge transfer process and provide greater opportunities to our journey-level employees,” she said.

Plans are underway to use TMD in support of AIR 6.0 Human Capital Strategy and Management Team’s efforts to become more proactive and predictive.  Using employees’ documented training needs, the team will be able to find the right candidate to train at the right time.

“In the future, we will be able to turn to TMD after training is announced and target individuals with a documented need to attend the class,” Lynch said. “This will also help Human Capital Strategy and Management to build a better budget and plan for the future.”

Somerville said PDM helped her grow personally and increased her awareness of the role she plays in generating readiness.  “Because of PDM, I know how knowledge, skills and even gaps directly correlate to the products delivered to the fleet,” she said. “My professional commitment went beyond just planning my future and expanded to the contributions I knew I could deliver for the fleet.”