Executive Summary for the Career Academy for Visitor and Resource Protection (VRP)

Key Points

  • The NPS Career Academy for VRP is part of a larger Learning and Development (L & D) strategic plan, based on the 2008 Learning & Development Report.
  • The effort is a career and skills development opportunity that can begin immediately and extend through full-performance level; before the employee reaches the Division Chief (or equivalent) level within the organization.
  • The overarching goal of the Career Academy for VRP is anticipating, complementing and helping to initiate performance preparedness and success in the field.
  • An advisory committee was established to assist Demica Vigil, VRP training manager.
  • Collaborating stakeholders include VRP, L&D, Carhart, FLETC, and NIFC.
  • The Career Academy offers pathways for employees and their supervisors to acquire and refine skills for successfully meeting job requirements, position competencies, and personal development goals.
  • The Academy’s goal is to deliver professional development opportunities via blended learning and cost-effective methods.


Enhancing professional and organizational excellence is a key area targeted by Director Jarvis in The Call to Action, specifically action item # 30, “Tools of the Trade.” Training managers are identified for each of the major career fields to shepherd this effort. The current VRP training manager is the most recent manager to focus on employees within the ranks of Visitor and Resource Protection. Because the position was vacant for nearly 12 years, there is much foundational work ahead in order be on par with other career fields. Following an instructional design model, VRP is in the analysis phase to identify learning opportunities. This includes defining core technical competencies, conducting a needs assessment and targeting the most important professional development competencies against those with the least employee preparedness (the training gap). Moving along a fast-paced track, design, development, implementation and evaluation phases are simultaneously being brought into the training strategy. All L&D training is competency-based and incorporates blended learning methods.

Current Status

  • VRP advisory committee members are Louis Rowe, Chris Pergiel, Clay Jordan, Paul Austin, Brian Johnson, Ed Visnovske, Norah Martinez, Tim Devine, Bill Pierce, Kim Watson, and a FLETC rep (currently vacant). The committee represents WASO, Region and field perspectives. An advisory committee charter was adopted in April, 2012.
  • Nine essential core competencies were validated through subject matter experts (SMEs) and approved by Associate Director for VRP in May, 2012.
  • Technical competencies for each sub-field are drafted and have preliminary vetting through committee and larger SME group. These competencies are the basis for a needs assessment.
  • Target date for assessment is Spring, 2013 (collaboration with Clemson University CESU agreement)
  • The assessment report will help to identify the highest priority employee development needs.


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