Preparing employees for advancement

Dec. 22, 2012 @ 05:53 PM

The City of Henderson graduated the first of what it hopes will be a new era of city employee career development success stories through formal, classroom-style training.

Human Resources Director Cathy Brown presented Edna Vaught to the Henderson City Council last week. Vaught, an employee with public services, trained through six modules to gain a city supervisor certification of readiness to fill a leadership role.

“What we are trying to do is improve opportunities for city employees to pursue advancement,” Brown said. “This is a brand new internal program set up for city employees.”

Council members applauded the program, and Vaught for her completion of it. Henderson Mayor Pete O’Geary said it takes the city’s need for training up a level.

“This is a wonderful program,” O’Geary said. “I know this will be good for our city, and it will be a help for our employees.”

Brown said the training program is in its infancy. She did all of the teaching for Vaught, covering areas such as workplace conflict resolution, effective office communications and performance management.

Brown is lining up other city directors and managers to add more depth and expertise to the program. The commitment on their part involves participating in some of at least nine sessions that last between two and three hours.

Eventually, if more funding becomes available, the program could include instructors brought in from outside the employ of the city, Brown said.

Examples of available city experts include Assistant City Manager Frank Frazier and Finance Director Kathy Brafford for budgeting areas, Christy Lipscomb with Kerr Lake Regional Water and Corey Williams, the city’s code enforcement director, for other administrative subjects.

Assistant Henderson Fire Chief Steve Cordel has taught CPR and first-aid courses for city employees in the past, and his training would be applicable as part of the city modular program as well, according to Brown.

The certification applies to consideration for openings that become available with the city, and is not an accredited school program, Brown said.

“This puts the individual in position to be considered for open positions with the city,” Brown said. “The certification goes into the employee’s file.”

Brown said that specific training program dates for the 2013 year are under development as she seeks to plug in at least three additional instructors.

City employees interested in signing up for a program in career development or supervisor certification first need approval from their department supervisor, Brown said, because the training takes place as part of the employee’s paid workday.

A class calendar with registration cut-off dates and further information to city leaders and employees is pending, Brown added. The formal classroom sessions will take place about once a month from early spring through October.

“I have heard a number of people ask about it,” she said. “We do want to make sure this is available for every employee who wants to participate.”

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.