Justify the Staff Training Budget

Week 6 – Assignment: Justify the Staff Training Budget InstructionsHealthcare executives are continually challenged to make informed decisions about which staff trainings and education strategies are best for their organizations. How much money should be budgeted for staff training, and how does the organization know that the monies are being spent wisely?As a healthcare manager, prepare a memorandum briefing to senior leaders to gain approval to increase your staff-training budget by at least double what it is now. The actual cost is not important here, what is important are the justifications to increase the budget. Please remember that simply stating that training is needed—to improve staff education, productivity, or other aspects—is insufficient. Be sure to include justification and reasoning as to why. You can address this assignment in terms of a generic department, or you can use the new service line created in an earlier assignment.Support your paper with at least three scholarly resources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including older articles, may be included.Length: 5-7 pages, not including title and reference pagesYour paper should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in the course by providing new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards.Watch Videos for additional help:The Changing Role of Managers produced by Ash Quarry Library, in Take Away Training Series (Bendigo, Victoria: Video Education Australasia, 2001), 15 mins.Ash Quarry Library. (2009). How to develop your people. Briefings Publishing Group. (2014). Turning good employees into great employees.CriteriaArticulated the need for an increased staff training budget (2 points).Defended the proposed budget in an adequate and sufficient manner (5 points).Included a minimum of three scholarly references, with appropriate APA formatting applied to citations and paraphrasing. Paper is 5-7 pages long not including the title and reference pages (3 points).Total (10 Points)


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on Professional
Development and Training
Standing in the middle of the cloud
forest, I marveled at seeing and
a successful
The canopy of
trees draped in
moisture from
the lingering
clouds, the calls
of birds perching
and flying just
out of view, the
attractive colors of
the dangling flowers, and the smells of
the vegetation intermingle to immerse
me in a world where each individual
component serves an important
function. Looking at the whole, seeing
how each component functions
individually is difficult. Thousands of
years of plants and animals adapting
and adjusting to each other led to what
I was fortunate to experience. Drawing
this analogy to a human professional
workplace, often we adapt and adjust
through training and professional
For the ant within the colony,
learning to perform the functions
of a job is a matter of life or death
for the individual and perhaps the
entire group. The social environment
for individual ants means ongoing
training through behavior modeling.
In a professional environment,
especially for frontline interpreters,
we often perform our duties
individually, such as the interpretive
naturalist leading a walk or the
museum docent with a guided tour.
Ants venturing out and supervisors at
interpretive sites first leave a trail for
others to follow easily, which serves
the same purpose as training new
staff to know what to do and where to
go in the job.
The intent of training is to provide
staff with the knowledge and skills
necessary for success in the job
position. Professional development
helps staff cultivate additional
knowledge and skills beyond the
job duties of a current position for
professional growth. Managers
and supervisors at interpretive sites
shared through an informal survey
informing my doctoral studies
that they view the professional
environment as a system and identify
problem areas needing attention.
Training Needs
The growing integration of technology
in our daily lives forces professional
environments to conform. However,
not all individuals are knowledgeable,
experienced, or comfortable with
technology. If using technology is a
required job duty, training is imperative
to the success of the individual as well
as the entire professional team. In the
field of interpretation, it may seem
surprising that managers see the need
for training in communication. Not
surprisingly, though, often the focus of
customer service is external, whereas
internal interpersonal communications
receives less attention. Concentrating
professional development on
internal customer service skills and
expectations benefits team cohesiveness
as well as external customer relations,
yet managers identify this as an area of
training need.
In addition to customer service
skills, both internal and external,
managers desire more training for
basic interpretive communication.
New staff, whether paid or volunteer,
in interpretive positions may not have
previous knowledge, understanding,
and skills in interpretation, yet
are expected to perform as an
interpreter. A further challenge is
training for professional standards for
interpretation and interpretive practices
to ensure consistency, specifically
in interpreter practice at individual
interpretive sites for wider wholesystem connectivity.
Interpretation-based Content
Training Needs
Managers and frontline interpreters
desire continued training and
professional development in
interpretation-based content areas
to align practice with professional
standards and perhaps innovate
within the field. As a healthy coral
reef depends on foundations, new
growth, ebb and flow of currents,
and vital individuals, effective and
successful interpretation includes
multiple components. Yet managers
want more opportunities for staff to
learn specific skills and knowledge
about the individual components.
Themes, understanding the audience,
understanding the resource,
facilitated dialogue, interpretive
program development, and audience
engagement are standard skill and
knowledge areas where more training
and professional development benefit
the site and the visitors. Less standard
are dealing with controversial topics,
how to influence action through
interpretation, and evaluation.
In an ideal world, unlimited training
and professional development is
available to all staff. Unfortunately,
the real world presents barriers for
In an ideal world,
unlimited training
and professional
development is
available to all staff.
managers, such as available budget for
training or professional development
opportunities. For opportunities not
nearby, the added travel costs to send
staff is prohibitive. Dedicating the time
away from business needs also limits
managers’ abilities to support staff
in attending training or professional
development. While budget and
time are neither unexpected nor
unfamiliar barriers, the perceived
lack of knowledgeable, expert
trainers is. Perhaps this perception
stems from the overwhelming
desire for training and professional
development opportunities without
corresponding available and relevant
workshops. Shifting the culture of
upper management to value training
and professional development,
especially for entry-level staff members,
presents a challenging barrier as well. If
institution decision-makers do not see
training and professional development
as translating to revenue or attendance,
it is unlikely the learning opportunities
that require additional time or budget
will be supported or encouraged.
The Struggle is Real
Managers want to dedicate the time and
budget to train staff—not only to attend
trainings and workshops, but also to
return to the site, share new knowledge
and skills, and integrate them into
professional practice. Even without
evaluation data, managers see staff
training as directly benefitting their
organization’s ability to work toward its
mission through effective interpretation.
Innovative approaches to learning
opportunities for staff result from
passionate and enthusiastic managers
who recognize and acknowledge the
realities of the barriers.
What Next?
Learning and understanding manager
perspectives, challenges, and desires for
training and professional development
benefits the interpretation profession.
From understanding comes action. How,
as a profession, can we shift to more
affordable, less time-conflicting, expert,
and diverse training opportunities
that meet the needs of nature-based,
art, museum, and history sites? Rather
than focusing on a cost-benefit business
model of time or budget for training and
professional development, we need to
shift to a systems view of the profession.
As in the cloud forest, each individual
component of the interpretation
profession serves an important function.
With a common goal of facilitating
emotional and intellectual connections
with the meanings in the resource, the
entire interpretation profession benefits
from well-trained, knowledgeable,
innovative, and passionate interpreters.
Sarena Randall Gill is a Ph.D. student at
Prescott College, a Certified Interpretive
Trainer, adjunct instructor at Miami
University, and the community
engagement manager at the Phoenix Zoo.
Contact her at sarena.gill@prescott.edu.
Copyright of Legacy (National Association for Interpretation) is the property of National
Association for Interpretation and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or
posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users
may print, download, or email articles for individual use.
Lepicki, T., & Boggs, A. (2014). Needs assessments to determine training requirements. In
J. W. Altschuld & R. Watkins (Eds.), Needs assessment: Trends and a view toward the future.
New Directions for Evaluation, 144, 61–74.
Needs Assessments to Determine Training
Traci Lepicki, Adrienne Boggs
This chapter gives the reader a close look at what a workforce development
needs assessment might entail, as well as the twists and turns that are inevitably
encountered in almost any assessment of this type. The authors describe a case
example in the context of direct service providers (home healthcare personnel,
nursing assistants, and so forth) and a complex needs assessment project in this
area that employed a three-phase model of needs assessment. They note that
the phases, which seem distinct on paper, blur and overlap in practice so that
rigid adherence to them must be tempered by what the real world imposes on the
situation. In the last part of the chapter the role and stance of those collecting
and analyzing needs data are examined, as well as lessons learned from having
to make various adjustments to the assessment process as it moves forward.
© Wiley Periodicals, Inc., and the American Evaluation Association.
Orchestrating an Assessment
Are needs assessment and training needs assessment the same? Are they in
harmony or disconnected? In the assessment literature there is a cacophony
of terms; multiple descriptions, models, and processes are offered, many
times used interchangeably (Rossett, 1987; Triner, Greenberry, Watkins,
1996; Watkins, Leigh, Platt, & Kaufman, 1998). Certainly, our jobs as assessors would be easier if the definitions were in concert; however, the
NEW DIRECTIONS FOR EVALUATION, no. 144, Winter 2014 © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., and the American Evaluation
Association. Published online in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com) • DOI: 10.1002/ev.20103
literature features different voices, concepts, and practices. The goal of
this chapter is to position a specific workforce development and training endeavor within the ensemble, adding to the overall assessment
Needs assessment blurs the line between the public and private sectors
when we start to examine the relationships between the worlds of work,
education, and public policy. As the marketplace changes, occupations are
created or phased out, revealing multiple needs; not the least of which are
related to “retooling” education systems and retraining incumbent workers (Carnevale, Smith, & Strohl, 2010). For instance, with the greening of
the economy in California, a workforce education and training needs assessment was conducted that elicited needs related to the nature of green
jobs and the economy, the basics of labor supply and demand, and an array of education and training programs (Zabin et al., 2011). It resulted in
a lengthy report with implications and recommendations targeting a full
spectrum of stakeholders, from public-sector education to private-sector
training. This example suggests that conducting an assessment can uncover
layers of needs with related causes and a multitude of possible solutions—
often obscuring the boundaries of needs assessment and training needs
Assessment at Work in Ohio
Multiple needs and multiple solutions equally apply to our work. In the
Ohio project, Ohio Direct Service Workforce Initiative, we investigated conditions related to direct care workers—home health aides, personal aides,
nursing assistants, and others who provide “frontline” support to clients in
home and community settings. As a workforce development strategy for
the state, the initiative was focused on creating a career lattice—a framework that arrays competencies across sectors and settings to delineate career and educational progression (O* NET Resource Center, n.d.). The desired results of the lattice for the worker, employer, and agency stakeholders are in Table 5.1. The underlying proposition was that by creating
a compelling structure with pathways to training, credentialing, and job
opportunities, the status of the direct care profession would be elevated,
thus attracting and retaining a quality workforce in order to meet growing
At the onset, we understood there was a desired solution within the
education and training context. However, all too often clients tend to focus
on solutions first before digging deeper into the problem, the actual need
(i.e., the underlying conditions that contribute to the situation). Following
Rossett (1987), the client may have a sense about needs through individual
opinions or ideas. Or the client may be confounded by training as a part
of training needs assessment as Triner et al. (1996) offer, “Why go through
Table 5.1. Aims of Ohio Direct Service Workforce Initiative Career
For the worker, the lattice will:
• Increase quality and consistency of training based on common competencies
• Increase flexibility, providing lateral movement between sectors
• Connect all direct care workers to career pathways
• Provide opportunities to advance to other professional positions
For the employer, the lattice will:
• Reduce cost by reducing the need to retrain workers at every job change
• Provide a means to determine whether the workforce is competent
• Reduce turnover when workers feel competent to perform their jobs
• Provide for recruitment of workers from diverse backgrounds into positions where
diversity is lacking
For government agencies, the lattice will:
• Unify systems that are often in silos
• Support state efforts to develop a consolidated waiver program by providing a more
uniformly trained workforce
• Provide a means for funders to determine whether the workforce is competent
Note. Adapted and modified from Crane-Ross, 2012, Health and Human Services Lattice. Columbus:
Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center, The Ohio State University.
the process of needs assessment if the decision as to a solution—training—
has already been made?” (pp. 52–53). With this project we knew it was
important to step back and ensure that the effort did not jump to solution
strategies prematurely without fully examining needs (Altschuld & Kumar,
Getting Started
Drawing from Altschuld and Witkin’s (2000) three-phase model, our efforts with the Ohio Direct Service Workforce Initiative began in 2010 with
determining what we already knew about the current conditions as well as
implications from healthcare models and educational trends. Table 5.2 offers an overview of key project activities aligned to the model. Starting first
with a leadership team comprised of researchers and the sponsoring agency,
a broad consortium of stakeholders (consumers, workers, employers, associations) was convened to guide the effort, a Needs Assessment Committee
or NAC (Witkin, 1984). This group informed the assessment design, assisted in the recruitment of individuals throughout the project, and aided
in interpretation/reaction to data gathered and summarized.
An early consideration was the level of needs as determined by the roles
of stakeholders. In accord with Altschuld and Lepicki (2009), Table 5.3
contains the primary levels of need, arrayed from consumer to employer.
Later in this chapter as the conversation shifts to training needs, the levels
also shift.
Table 5.2. Activities Aligned to Needs Assessment Phases
Key Project Activities
I. Preassessment
(initiating the
project, reviewing
existing data,
determining how to
NAC formation
Guide project and assist with specific
activities (e.g., recruitment, data
interpretation, policy
Literature review
II. Assessment
data, determining
III. Postassessmenta
evaluating the
Understand context and needs in
general across levels
Employer interviews Determine employer-level needs to
inform additional data collection
and analysis
Research projects
Gather more data and provide causal
analysis for identified needs across
Job task analysis
Determine job tasks at the worker
level, identify job task discrepancies
across occupational areas, and
prioritize competency development
Identify discrepancies between
proposed and currently required
competencies and recommend
solution strategies to resolve them
Competency, test, and Implement prioritized solution
strategies focused on education and
a Since
the Ohio Direct Service Workforce Initiative is an ongoing project, further solution strategies,
action plans, and evaluation processes may be carried out expanding the activities of the postassessment phase.
Table 5.3. Levels of Need
Level Description
“End users,” recipients of goods
and services
Providers of goods and services
System/organization in which
providers reside
Level Example
Consumers of health and human
Direct care workers
Employers of direct care workers
Gaps in Health and Human Services
From a quick review of the literature and initial NAC conversations, it was
apparent that there are significant challenges to attracting and retaining
highly qualified direct care workers (current conditions). The work is considered low-wage with a high rate of turnover. There are no clear career
Table 5.4. Sampling of Direct Service Workforce Needs
Current State
Desired State
Supply and demand
Workers in demand
Inadequate supply of workers
Employment “churn”
High worker turnover
Wages and benefits
Little to no benefits
Lack of education and training
Supply of workers
commensurate with
Reduced turnover
Workers retained
Improved wage
Increased benefits
Increased opportunities
Standardized education and
Education and training
paths and limited opportunities for education beyond only short-term onthe-job training for specifics tasks and needs (Institute of Medicine, 2008).
This is true in other countries as well; the United Kingdom, Ireland, and
Canada are experiencing similar challenges with direct care (Spencer, Martin, Bourgeault, & O’Shea, 2010).
At the same time, in terms of the future of the direct care workforce,
there is a national trend for increasing attention being given to the area.
The United States is facing a demand problem based on the size of the baby
boom generation and increased longevity. According to Cauley (2011), the
population over 60 will double within the next twenty years, and those
most likely to need long-term care, adults over 85, will increase five times.
The patterns here and internationally reflect the need and will even generalize to transitional and developing economies (Fujisawa & Colombo, 2009;
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2011).
When we started the project, discrepancies between the quality and the
quantity of the workforce were well documented (Table 5.4). The situation
was obvious—the need for the direct care providers is expected to increase
dramatically coupled with a lack of attractiveness of the profession.
Addressing the Nontraining Needs
In 2011 Phase II, the actual assessment began (Altschuld & Witkin, 2000).
Informed by policymakers and preassessment (Phase I) findings, the endeavor required digging deeper into the four need areas in Table 5.4. A
number of them have impacts on employers (Level 3), and their engagement is a key component of efforts dealing with workforce development
(U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education,
2012). To garner buy-in and to gather more data, the chief executive officers
and human resources directors of service providers were interviewed. First,
they were presented with the career lattice followed by asking them to …
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