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We have generated a number of frequently asked questions and answers concerning employee development and training in GSD. The following FAQ's discuss various training programs that are currently available to GSD employees; the Department's training request procedures; the Department's policies on specialized training request; City's Tuition Reimbursement Program; and other relevant questions regarding training.

The FAQ's are developed to help our supervisors obtain answers or solutions to some of the common questions they may have, and to help them become better supervisors. If you have further questions or need verification on a specific question, please contact the Employee Development and Training Center at (213) 847-1240.

Other than providing training to the employees, what else does the Employee Development and Training Center do?
Training is obviously the biggest function in the Employee Development and Training Center. We conduct, develop, and coordinate different training programs for Department employees. Besides training, we assist supervisors, offering career counseling to their employees who want a career with the City; we conduct the quarterly Department newsletter, "Outlook"; we publish a Departmental Employee Handbook; and we encourage supervisors to conduct mock interviews to assist their employees.

I want to send my employees to training. What do I, as a supervisor, have to do?
Well, for any type of training, you (the supervisor) must approve it first. Then you or your employees should contact the Employee Development and Training Center to obtain the required request forms. Usually, the training requires signatures of one or more supervisors. The completed Request for Training must be submitted to the Employee Development and Training Center, Mail Stop 508, City Hall South. Then the Department Training Officer will direct you to the next step.

I have a few part-time employees in my area. Can I send them to training?
Yes. According to Personnel Directive 3, part-time City employees can receive training offered by the Personnel Department, GSD, or other City departments. Same thing applies to exempt City employees.

Employees have asked me whether they will receive their normal salaries while in training, what should I tell them?
Your employees will be happy to hear this! The City pays employees their normal salaries while they are attending the training! However, you have to make sure that they understand the training must be pre-approved by you (the supervisor), your management, and the Department Training Officer.

I have heard the term "outside training," what is it?
"Outside training" is any type of training provided by Non-City Agencies or Vendors. For example, seminars and conferences conducted by private companies are considered "outside training." We usually call this type of training "specialized training."

Can my part-time and exempt employees attend specialized training?
No. Unlike in-house training (training offered by City departments and agencies), only permanent, full-time employees can attend specialized training with approval of management.

How do I process a request for specialized training?
You can submit the Specialized Training Request Form to the Employee Development and Training Center, Mail Stop 508, City Hall South. The request must be submitted at least four weeks prior to the scheduled date. If you fail to do so, the travel funds may not be ready before your trip. If this happens, it is required that you pay out of your pocket and then request reimbursement after the trip.

How do you determine when to approve a specialized training request?
We decide whether to approve a specialized training request mainly on one factor. That is, "the training must be of direct value to the City, relevant to the employee's duties, and must provide special knowledge and skills that cannot be obtained through available in-service training programs" (Personnel Directive 3). Besides the relevancy of the training, we also consider whether the Department has the budget to send the employee to training.

Is there anything that I need to do after the specialized training is completed?
Yes. Employees who attended specialized training must submit: 1) a report containing a summary of the nature and purpose of the travel; and 2) a description of the significant information gained and/or benefits accruing to the City as a result of the travel. The reports should be turned in to the appropriate Assistant General Manager not more than 30 days following the trip. Please contact the Employee Development and Training Center for detailed information.

If the specialized training runs on a weekend, can the employee receive overtime pay?
It depends on the situation. If the training is elective, the employee will not receive overtime pay. However, if the employee is asked to attend the seminar or conference by the Department, and the event extends beyond regularly scheduled work hours, overtime will be paid. Again, overtime pay is determined on a case-by-case basis. If you are not sure and want to verify your situation, please contact the Department Training Officer at (213) 847-1240.

If the specialized training requires out-of-town travel, can I still attend?
Yes, but the training request must be reviewed and signed by the Assistant General Manager as well as by your Division Head. The General Manager will then review and sign the documents authorizing the expenditures for the trip.

If the out-of-town training requires travel during my non-work hours, will I get paid for the traveling?
No, you will not. According to Personnel Directive 3, reasonable travel time will only be compensated at the employee's regular salary rate for travel occurring during the employee's normal work hours. No compensation will be paid for travel occurring during non-work hours.

I've already approved an employee to attend a training class, but something just came up and I really need that employee to stay on the work site, what should I do?
If this happens, the employee must stay on the job. According to the Personnel Directive 3, employees can attend training only when "operational requirements permit." If conflict arises between the training and the scheduled work, the employee's scheduled work has priority.

One of my employees is unable to attend a scheduled training session, what do I do to cancel it?
To cancel a training session, you must notify the Employee Development and Training Center as soon as possible but no later than the day before the class.

What if the employee is scheduled to attend a specialized training session but is unable to go? Can it be cancelled?
Yes. Like the regular training, it can be cancelled, but with restrictions. Due to the fact that specialized training is paid by the City, enough notice must be given to the Employee Development and Training Center so that the City does not lose money by canceling the registration. Exceptions can be made if you can replace the employee with another employee.

Some of my employees want to learn computer skills, does the Employee Development and Training Center offer computer training?
We sure do. Employees can learn many popular software programs like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Access, and other useful computer programs in our Computer Lab, located in City Hall South, Third Floor. We also have CD-ROMs, books, manuals, and videotapes in our library to assist the employees in computer training. Just keep in mind that all of the computer training courses are self-paced. Employees are expected to learn on their own. However, if employees run into problems in the lab, the staff in the Employee Development and Training Center would be available to help.

If the work does not permit an employee to take the computer training in the lab, what can you do to accommodate this employee?
If the employee has access to a computer, besides coming to the lab, he/she may check out the CD-ROMs, books, manuals, and videotapes that we have in the library to help him/her learn the computer skills outside of the computer lab.

A few of my employees want to attend training, but it's almost impossible for me to send them away because of our workload, can you help?
Yes. Actually, the Employee Development and Training Center is very flexible in terms of offering training to employees and supervisors. First, your employees can take the web-based training classes offered by the Personnel Department. Those classes can be taken either from their work or home computer. Second, we have the "home study" courses developed by the National Independent Study Center for employees to take at home, which the employee pays for. Third, they can sign up for online classes offered by other educational institutions. We know that the City strongly encourages all aspects of employee development, so the Employee Development and Training Center tries to offer every employee the proper training that he/she needs in every possible way.

I know that the Employee Development and Training Center offers a variety of training to Department employees, but is there any training available to the supervisors?
Yes, you bet. There are actually lots of training classes conducted especially for the supervisors. GSD offers our own supervisory development classes to first-line supervisors. The Personnel Department also offers year-round supervisory training on topics such as Discipline, EEO, Frontline Supervision, Civil Service Rules, etc.

I am looking for materials on supervisory training, do you have that in the Employee Development and Training Center?
Yes, we do. In fact, we have materials, including books, manuals, and videotapes on supervisory training. Just come by our center and check out the materials we have in the library. Feel free to suggest materials that you would like us to add to the library, and we will try to accommodate your request.

What other materials, besides supervisory training, do you have in the library?
We can't list every single one here. Just to name a few, we have materials on sexual harassment prevention and procedures; written and oral communication skills; customer service skills; workplace violence prevention and procedures; AIDS and other diseases prevention; software programs; management guides; and a lot more. Our library materials are not limited to books and manuals, but also CD-ROMs, videotapes, and audio tapes. Remember to drop by the Employee Development and Training Center and choose the material that will help you the most.

How long can I keep the materials checked out from your library?
Two weeks, but can be extended for certain materials if they have not been requested by someone else.

My employees want to obtain the request forms, course listings, and Home Study Program descriptions. Is it possible for you to send the materials to my employees?
Absolutely! We understand that most of our employees have tight schedules, so we try every effort to accommodate them. Just call or e-mail the Employee Development and Training Center with your name, your division, and your mail stop or fax number, we will then fax or send the information to you.

I have a few employees who received less than satisfactory performance evaluation scores. Can the Employee Development and Training Center help them improve their skills?
Yes, that's what we are here for! We can work with supervisors to identify the training needs of the employees and find the best suited training methods to help them improve their performance deficiencies.

Do you offer or coordinate special types of training like the DOT-Testing training?
Of course we do. The Employee Development and Training Center has conducted our own Department training courses like First Aid, DOT-Testing, Preventing Blood Borne Pathogens, etc., to meet the special needs of our employees. When a course is not offered within the City, we send the employees to outside training. Some examples of outside training that we have sent employees to are Helicopter Maintenance Training, Nuclear Gauge Training, PeopleSoft Training, and Management Training. Whenever there is a need for training, the Employee Development and Training Center will try to help conduct or coordinate the training in every way we can.

Classroom-learning environment is just not my way of learning, do you have some other types of training available?
Certainly. We understand that not everyone learns best in the same way; therefore, we provide many different ways for employees to learn. For example, we have the usual lecture-type learning such as the classes offered by the Personnel Department and GSD; we offer courses from the Home Study Program for employees that like to learn on their own and away from their jobs; we have the online training classes such as ITA's ElementK program for those that feel more comfortable learning on a computer; and we also have the self-paced computer training classes in the lab for employees to get hands-on learning. GSD's Employee Development and Training Center tries to accommodate employees in many different ways.

What courses does the Personnel Department offer?
The Personnel Department offers so many training classes that it is impossible to list them all here. Some of their popular classes include Frontline Supervision, EEO for Supervisors, First Aid/CPR, Customer Services, Civil Services Rules, and much more. When classes are not offered in GSD, we send our employees to attend the Personnel Department training classes. You can obtain a complete list of the classes from the Employee Development and Training Center.

Do we sign up for the Personnel Department classes through the Personnel Department or the Employee Development and Training Center?
You must sign up through the Employee Development and Training Center. You must complete the Request for Training form and submit it to the Employee Development and Training Center. You will then be placed on the waiting list and will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

How long do I usually wait to be scheduled to a Personnel Department training class?
It really depends. We cannot give you a definite answer because we schedule employees based on the available slots granted by the Personnel Department. Please understand that the training classes are offered to all City employees, so it's very hard for the Personnel Department to accommodate every employee on a timely basis. Our department usually gets only two or three slots per session for some of the popular classes. So once you sign up for a class, please be patient. You will be scheduled to attend as early as possible.

So does that mean that we cannot choose when to attend a Personnel Department Training class?
That's true. We have no control over the scheduled dates of the training sessions. Since slots are hard to obtain, we can only schedule employees on a first-come, first-served basis according to the dates given by the Personnel Department. Keep in mind that supervisory classes are reserved for supervisors.

My employees want to sign up for the web-based training classes offered by the Personnel Department, what do they need to do? Do they need to notify the Personnel Department?
It is necessary for them to contact the Personnel Department directly, and they need to go on the web-based training website: State Personnel Training and print out the registration form. The class schedules and outlines are also listed on this website. After the employee completed the registration form and has obtained his/her supervisor's signature, he/she needs to forward the completed form to the Personnel Department. The employee is responsible for paying the cost of their training. For more questions, please call the Personnel Department at (213) 847-9800.

Some of my employees are interested in the Tuition Reimbursement Program, can you explain more about the program?
Sure. The City's Tuition Reimbursement Program is designed to encourage active, full-time permanent City employees, on their own time, to improve their performance in their current positions and to develop their potential for higher level positions in their logical line of promotion. Because the funding is still very limited, the priority is given to employees in clerical, service, difficult to recruit, and high attrition positions. Keep in mind that Tuituion Reimbursement may not be offered every fiscal year, and is subject to the City's financial situation.

Does the Tuition Reimbursement Program reimburse at 100% of the tuition cost?
Unfortunately, the City does not have enough funding to reimburse employees at 100% of the tuition cost. The reimbursement rates will be at 50% of the California State University (CSU) registration fees, and will be paid at 100% of the per unit rate for community colleges up to a maximum amount equivalent to 50% of the CSU rate.

Will I get reimbursed for parking fees and books?
No. The reimbursement will be made only for tuition, laboratory fees and other mandatory charges. The program does not cover books, other course materials, supplies, parking, or other expenses such as voluntary student activity fees.

Once I have been approved for tuition reimbursement, will I receive reimbursement for the whole fiscal year?
In fact, no. The request should be made before the beginning of each quarter or semester. If it is approved, the approval is only effective for that quarter or semester. A new request is required if the employee wants to register for another quarter or semester.

I am currently taking a course in a community college, may I request for reimbursement at the end of the class?
No, you may not. All requests for reimbursement must be pre-approved. All necessary paperwork must be submitted within two weeks of enrollment. At the end of the quarter or semester, the employee must submit a grade report to the Department Training Officer. Reimbursement will be made only if the employee obtained a grade of "C" or better for undergraduate coursework or a school-certified certificate of satisfactory completion.

When will my reimbursement payment arrive?
Good question! This is important to know. Reimbursement payments will be processed by the Personnel Department within two weeks of receipt of the required information from the operating department and will be sent to your home address as shown on your Tuition Reimbursement Request form. You are responsible to notify the Department Training Officer in writing of an address change, if you would like the reimbursement payment to be sent to your new address. The Department Training Officer will then forward your new information to the Personnel Department. All reimbursement checks are mailed by the City Controller's Office.

I want to enroll in graduate courses to obtain my Master's Degree. Will I be able to receive reimbursement from the City?
Unfortunately, the reimbursement is currently limited to enrollment in undergraduate degree or certificate programs. Reimbursement for graduate-level coursework or degree programs may be available in the future, if there are extra funds available.

What if I want to enroll in web-based certification programs? Will I be able to receive reimbursement?
You may receive reimbursement. Web-based programs that are offered through accredited educational institutions may be approved for reimbursement under certain conditions, and will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis. You may want to discuss your plan with the Department Training Officer before signing up for the program.

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