Ty Winther (above) participates in an online First Aid practical with D2 Trainer Mike Towne (below).
ITD Training & Development Moves to a Virtual Realm
David Nichols officially took over his new role as the Training and Development manager for ITD March 9. One week later, Governor Brad Little issued a statewide stay-at-home order, and the department has been navigating uncharted waters ever since.
As all ITD employees are aware, the work we do, and the services our department provides are essential. That’s true of every segment of ITD, including Training and Development. The need to continue offering effective training opportunities, while adhering to COVID-19 guidelines, is a challenge the team has met head-on.
“Training is important for ITD employees on many levels,” said Nichols. “Not only does it help to provide growth on a professional level and help ensure safety in the field, but many individuals also rely on the training opportunities we deliver to advance in their career. It was vital for us to figure out how to balance the training needs of individuals with the health of our workforce and communities.”
Training and Development met with leadership to discuss operational priorities and the corresponding training requirements. The team then focused on how to safely make those training opportunities available.
“We went through all of the training needs to determine who needs what, and what could be delivered virtually,” said ITD Training & Development Program Supervisor Amanda Regnier. “Once that list was created, we looked at what we could deliver online immediately, and rolled out HAZMAT, Environmental Awareness, Defensive Driving, Storm 102 and interim online equipment courses”.
The Training and Development team took developed information, materials and curriculum and began utilizing it for online presentations through Microsoft Teams and WebEx. By offering training sessions online, employees are able to personally interact with trainers while still maintaining recommended social distancing.
The team is also hard at work creating virtual learning sessions for employees to access through the TalentED portal.
“We have been working with the Program Delivery Conference Committee and scheduling virtual learning sessions from the previously scheduled PDC20 (2020 Program Delivery Conference),” said Regnier. “Our goal is to offer two to six training session per week until the middle of June. This is great, because it will allow individuals to still get vital hours in training even though they can’t attend the conference in person.”
Training and Development will be providing more information on horizontal career paths and upcoming trainings in the coming weeks. Virtual training opportunities will continue to be rolled out throughout the month of May, and employees are encouraged to check TalentED frequently for new opportunities. As always, the trainers in each district are also available to offer support and answer questions.
“Training during this time is definitely different from the norm, but we are using this time wisely and will be ready to rally as soon as we are fully able,” Nichols said. “The top priority right now, is doing our part to keep our workforce safe and healthy.”
“I am really proud and grateful for my team,” he added. “Not only were they quick to adopt new technology early on, but they also stepped up in an incredible way to help bring me onboard with this new position. I have no doubt that we will come out of this situation with valuable insight as we move forward with our program.”