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The Mission: Learning
CLOs working in government share a desire to serve and impact their agencies’ readiness, and are collaborating to increase efficiencies and save taxpayers money.
From left: Fred Lang, former chief learning officer for the U.S. Department of Commerce, Randy Bergquist, assistant director of learning and workforce development for the Justice Management Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Peter Shelby, chief learning officer of the National Reconnaissance Office, and Reese Madsen, chief learning officer of the U.S. Department of Defense Intelligence.
It’s often said that the wheels of government turn slowly, and this holds true for learning in government as well. For this reason, CLOs working in government have had to accustom themselves to working at a different pace.
“Passion, patience and perseverance are keys to working in government because things just move much more slowly,” said Peter Shelby, chief learning officer of the National Reconnaissance Office. “So you make that business case, and if you know it’s the right thing to do you just have to stick with it and persevere until it comes to fruition, or it gets funded, or you’re able to work your resources so you can implement the learning the organization needs.”
The CLO position itself is relatively new in government, according to Randy Bergquist, assistant director of learning and workforce development for the Justice Management Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He said while the private sector has been using the term and function since the early to mid-1990s, the federal government started renaming and positioning agency training directors as CLOs less than 10 years ago. However, he said government CLOs are more likely to come into the role directly from another education-related position.
“While most of the government CLOs evolved from their experience in the field of training and development, many of the private sector CLOs were business people first and then learning experts second,” Bergquist said. “For example, some companies have business leaders from various functions rotate into and out of CLO functions for each line of business.”
There are broad differences between corporate and government CLOs. The organizations they operate within are substantially different, as are the audiences they serve and report to, but corporate and government CLOs are not all that different with regard to their overall goals.
“Essentially 90 percent of what both of them do is similar — try to bring the best and the most efficient training to the workforce and deliver it in a manner that’s accessible in a timely way,” said Fred Lang, former chief learning officer for the U.S. Department of Commerce. Lang spent half of his career in the private sector and half in government, and is well-positioned to compare the two.
The Next Generation of HR: What’s Wrong? What’s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
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