Increasing Agency Professionalism and Job Performance Through Training: The Minnesota State Park's Example
Keywords:Professional development, continuing education, recreation resource management, organizational barriers, evaluation.
AbstractPublic agencies with recreation resource responsibilities are faced with new ideas and thinking about acceptable and sustainable resource uses. Many resource professionals completed their formal education before these new ways of thinking took hold at the management level. While some professionals have been able to keep up with new ideas through reading and courses on their own, the perception among agency administrators is that these individual efforts may not be adequate, and that training needs to be available to all professional staff if new ideas and thinking are to be implemented. This research evaluates a continuing education program developed and implemented by one public agency to upgrade the knowledge base and job performance of all professional staff with recreation resource management responsibilities. What emerged from the evaluation was the existence of organizational barriers that impede the participant's application of newly acquired knowledge; a need for additional and/or supplemental training; differences among participants as to the relevancy of course topics to their jobs; and perhaps most importantly, a shared perception among participants that their knowledge base increased and that they represented a more professional and competent workforce after training.
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