Welcome to Career Development

What is Career Development

For many blue-collar occupations that have private sector counterparts, applicants can be and often are hired at the full-performance level. For other blue-collar occupations that are more unique to the Government, applicants are typically hired at an entry level grade and then through an apprentice or other career development program advance noncompetitively to the full-performance or journey level. Individuals who are not in developmental positions must typically compete for each promotion to higher level positions. Although these entry and advancement processes are not unlike those for many white-collar employees, developmental programs or career tracks tend to be considerably less common among blue- than white-collar occupations.

Nonsupervisory employees at the full-performance or journey level who wish to advance may compete to become inspectors (also a WG position, but one that is usually at a higher grade level) or work leaders (in the WL pay schedule). Work leaders are nonsupervisors, who in addition to their journey-level work, have duties that include passing on supervisor instructions to other workers, demonstrating proper work methods, and ensuring that needed materials are available, that there is enough work, and that work is progressing on schedule. Work leaders are paid 10 percent above the WG pay schedule. Unlike supervisors (who are in the WS pay schedule), work leaders do not plan, schedule, and direct work operations; evaluate and rate subordinates on their work; or deal with employee complaints, suggestions, and grievances. Work leaders may compete for and progress through various levels of supervisor, depending on the size of the installation. Supervisors are compensated at least 30 percent above the WG pay schedule, depending on the grade levels and variety of employees supervised.

In addition to progressing through the WL and WS career paths, blue-collar employees may advance by competing for openings in related blue-collar occupations, such as planners, estimators, examiners, and schedulers. Sometimes, blue-collar employees advance by qualifying and competing for position vacancies in related white-collar occupations, such as technician, quality assurance specialist, equipment specialist, production controller, or training instructor.

Although each of these various advancement options offers opportunities for increased pay and responsibility, the availability of the options is often limited, particularly at the smaller installations. The range of opportunities available will vary considerably by the type of occupation, the grade level, and the number of applicants competing for available openings. Generally, opportunities for advancement decrease as the occupations are more specialized, have fewer or lower graded levels, or have many applicants for few vacancies.

Federal Blue Collar Employees: A Workforce in Transition, A Report to the President & the Congress of the United States by the Merit Systems Protection Board, 1992

Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston MA
The College of Professional and Continuing Education at the Wentworth Institute of Technology provides access to adult learners through degree, certificate, and workforce training programs, along with customized corporate in-house training – all designed for students who are working full time.
Seven secret principles of getting a raise
Seven Secret PrinciplesAre you paid what you are worth? Columnist Joel Leonard offers seven simple techniques that can boost your profile and the size of your paycheck. Click HERE to read more.
Peterson School, Woburn MA
peterson_logo-300x135Whether you are an entry-level or experienced tradesman or someone seeking a new career, you may be interested in the offerings at the Peterson School in Woburn, MA. Founded in 1946, they provide the up-to-date vocational trainiing programs.
OPM’s Training and Development Policy Wiki
OPM LogoLow Cost Training Options Organizations must continue the operation of training and development even in times of tighter budgets. Learn some of the different ways organizations can train their workforce with minimal expenditures and increase the quality of those training offerings while incurring little to no cost. Visit OPM’s Training and Development Policy Wiki to learn how.
OPM Training
OPMOPM’s Center for Leadership Development offers a series of courses in Leadership and Management. From Managing the Flexible Workplace to a Managing Performance Seminar. Look at their entire schedule online.
OPM policy on cost-sharing for employee training
OPM LogoFederal law and regulations provide many ways to support employees’ training and development. Agencies are encouraged to use these flexibilities to meet agency needs and to support employee self-development and learning. There are examples of flexibilities in current Federal training law and regulations, including providing academic degree training. The following information addresses these flexibilities: Establishment of training ...
OPM Best Practices: Mentoring
OPMCheck out the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s guide: Best Practices: Mentoring.
NCCERNCCER (The National Center for Construction Education and Research) is a not-for-profit education foundation created to develop standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable, industry-recognized credentials. These credentials include transcripts, certificates and wallet cards that are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry. NCCER develops training in over 60 craft areas, offers over 70 assessment ...
Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act
Department of EnergyCheck out the Federal Buildings Personnel Training Act (FBPTA) recommended curriculum from GSA and the U.S. Department of Energy.

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