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These detailed, step-by-step instructions will help you to:

  • Add New Training Requests
  • Annually Update your IDP and Training Requests
  • Generate your Individual Development Plan report
  • View and add completed courses in My Training History
  • View and add Credentials
  • Search Profiles to find peer-to-peer connections & individuals who have JAA for a specific conservation practice
  • Complete Manager Roles

Overview

Users will be able to enter and edit their own data. Managers will be able to enter organization priorities, review staff’s Individual Development Plan (IDP) data or enter/edit the data. Both roles include the ability to generate various reports.

Login to eLINK to get started.

 

Overall Process for Completing your IDP

The steps below outline the overall process that you should use to complete your IDP.  

While the steps can be followed by NRCS District Conservationists (DCs) and SWCD managers individually, we highly recommended that you work together to determine and discuss your service area's current technical capabilities, identify potential gaps in technical capabilities, and plan for future technical needs. This approach will allow you to get the most out of this process.

Step 1: Identify Priority Resource Concerns and Practices

  • NRCS DCs and SWCD Managers should identify priority resource concerns in their county or service areas using local water plans, USDA local working group documents, and other local resources.  
  • Once the resource concerns are identified, NRCS DCs and SWCD Managers should identify the conservation practices that are regularly used in the county or service area to address those resource concerns
  • NRCS DCs and SWCD Managers will need to enter priority resource concerns for the service area separately.  

Instructions for entering priority concerns and practices are included in the Manager Role information below.

Step 2: Determine Capabilities

For each conservation practice listed as a priority in the service area, the SWCD Manager and the NRCS DCs should identify employees who are currently able to, or desire the ability, to work on the practice. Helpful Hint: Use the profile feature to print out a JAA summary for the staff in your service area.

If there is a gap in the ability of an organization to meet the implementation needs for a priority practice, the SWCD Manager or NRCS DC should identify which staff need training or certification for that practice. The need for training or certification can then be documented through the completion of the Training Needs step for that individual.  

Step 3: Complete Employee IDPs

SWCD Managers and NRCS DCs should consult with individual employees to identify JAA goals and training needed to meet JAA and other credentialing goals.  Employees will then enter training needs into the system using the Tech Training IDP tool (Managers will also be able to enter this data on behalf of their staff). Instructions for this step are found below.

Employees can enter any non-JAA certifications they already have, as well as training attendance that they would like documented as part of their IDP.

Step 4: Review IDP

Employees should print out their IDP and review it carefully to make sure it documents existing certifications and indicates which trainings and certifications are desired. 

Helpful Hint: Discuss your IDP with your manager or supervisor. Consider the following:

  • Do your identified training needs match up with the priorities for your organization? 
  • Are there additional professional development opportunities you are interested in? 
  • Your IDP is a great tool for starting these conversations and making sure you and your manager are on the same page when it comes to long and short term professional development goals.

Add New Training Request

The Technical Training and Certification Program focuses on prioritizing training needs based on Organizational Priorities consisting of resource concerns and associated practices.

IDP tool screenshot

We ask that you consider the priority resource concerns and the conservation practices needed in your area in order to address those concerns. This step encourages users to focus on the skills needed to most effectively assist the clients in their area. The Technical Training and Certification Program staff will create multiple opportunities to participate in formal training events, based on training needs indicated through this process.

Identifying and documenting priority resource concerns and practices for your area, allows you to work with your staff to prioritize specific training needs and plan lower-priority training events for the future when staff are ready to expand their abilities. This process results in prioritized training needs to enter into the IDP tool..

This video explains how to enter a new technical training request.

Click "Add New Training Request"

IDP tool screenshot

You can enter training requests for any of the categories below (Select Category):

  • Advanced Technical Skills (e.g. Advanced Hydrology)
  • Basic Technical Skills (e.g. Basic Ag & Agronomy)
  • Core Competency (e.g. Water Quality Basics)
  • Other Certification
  • Practice-Specific

The first three categories are directly related to the IDP Skills Matrix, where skill-based trainings are divided into Basic, Advanced, and the Core Competencies. A copy of the Matrix can be found online: TTCP IDP Skills Matrix

Advanced and Basic Technical Skills:  Upon selecting a category, select the desired skill area for this training request. Four particular Basic Technical Skills in the Ecological Sciences selections generate a text box. Provide specific details since these four (e.g. Plant ID) are very broad and trainers need to know what types of practices or farming systems you work with in order to tailor the training for your particular need.

Core Competencies: This category represents the Core Competency Training Modules that are currently in the production phase. These modules are not yet available, but you can still select the category as part of your training needs.

Other Certification: This category could include any certification an individual may have as a goal and request training for it. Provide the name of the certification and the organization that normally grants that certification.

Note: When pursuing Conservation Planner Certification, enter the required course(s) by name. There are five in-person courses required for the Conservation Planner levels. Enter the text exactly for the one(s) you need:

  • Conservation Planning Business Tool Training
  • Conservation Planning Course: Part 2
  • Cultural Resources Training Series Part 2
  • Soil Health and Sustainability Training
  • Working Effectively With.....

Practice Specific: Training requests are related to approximately 115 conservation practices and  Best Management Practices (BMPs) used in Minnesota, and are subdivided into 3 types: Ecological Sciences, Engineering, and Non-JAA (i.e. practices that do not fall within NRCS's JAA system).

Upon selecting the desired Practice, a table showing current JAA levels for the practice will display.  Please note the last updated from NRCS date. This tells you when the data from the NRCS JAA database was last imported into the system (typically twice per year). Below the JAA table are two questions asking which phase of the practice you desire formal training for and/or if you are also requesting on-the-job training.

NOTE: ECS JAA may not display for all staff.  ECS JAA is currently being updated by NRCS in their database; more will be available to display after the next import. In the meantime, staff should refer to their current delegated JAA or contact their ARC with questions.

IDP tool screenshot

Saving and Editing Training Requests

The request and save steps in each skill or practice window is the same:

  1. For each skill/practice selected, press Save. You will then see the Successfully Created message.
  2. To begin an additional request, press the Create New Request button.
  3. You can make edits to this request and re-press the Save button.
  4. Select the Go Back button to return to the My Training Needs page.

Once a training request is in the table, you can edit or delete the item using the icons in the Action column. The Last Updated date refers to the most recent save date for that item. Staff are asked to revisit each training request on at least an annual basis to update that you have received sufficient training on that topic (delete the item), or make appropriate changes, and/or re-save the training need to refresh the date signifying that item remains a training need.

Annual IDP Review and Update

Updating Training Requests

Training requests should be updated in the IDP tool annually. There are three options for updating training requests:

  1. Refresh the date if the request is still valid.
  2. Delete a request that is no longer valid or has been met.
  3. Edit a request to reflect the specific type of training you are requesting.

The video below demonstrates how to do these updates in your IDP.

 

IDP tool screenshot

As mentioned in the Add New Training Request section, all staff will be able to create training requests and edit or delete existing requests at any time. The TTCP partnerships’ trainers will meet each fall to lay out a training itinerary for the coming year based on the requests compiled in in this tool.

Although training needs are continually evaluated, users will need to enter their information by the annual deadline to be included in the requests for the upcoming year's training opportunities.

Staff are encouraged to focus training requests on the highest priorities for their position or organization. As training topics are mastered (whether through formal trainings or other methods), corresponding requests should be removed and new ones can be added. If you’ve attended a training event, but still need additional training opportunities in that specific category, please provide an updated date to the request to keep it current/valid. To refresh the Last Updated date, click on the pencil icon to edit the request. Click Save to refresh the date.

Generate IDP Report

IDP tool screenshot

The Generate IDP Report button (or Generate Staff IDP Report for managers) is available on the My Training Needs and My Credentials tabs. The report will summarize all documented practice-specific and skills training needs and show existing JAA for the individual. The report can be downloaded into an Excel spreadsheet and is formatted for easy printing.

My Training History

This video shows how to view training attendance in your IDP.

IDP tool screenshot

The My Training History section is designed to help you track any professional development trainings you have attended. The section is divided into two tables: TTCP Trainings tracking  and Other Trainings.

TTCP Trainings

BWSR and NRCS staff will enter attendance information for all TTCP-specific training courses completed after August 1, 2019. 

A record of your attendance at a TTCP-sponsored training should appear in the table within a week or two after a course is complete - no input is necessary on your part. However, you will need to review this table periodically to ensure accuracy.   

If you enter attendance prior to a trainer entering it, and both show up in the table later on, you may delete the one you entered. You cannot delete attendance entered by a trainer. Please contact one of the session trainers if you have issues.

If you wish to track any TTCP Trainings that you attended prior to August 1, 2019, you will need to enter that information on your own.

Other Trainings

You can use this table to track any non-TTCP training courses you've attended.

On the right side of the table, by each course listing, you can edit or delete that line. Choosing edit will allow you to see and modify the course hours and edit the other fields. Training history is on the honor system. Trainers try to be consistent in the number of course hours assigned for purposes of tracking Continuing Education Units (CEUs), so we recommend not changing these values. Trainers keep sign-in sheets for each of the sessions hosted; contact a technical trainer if you need of a copy.

IDP tool screenshot

Managers or staff may enter a new training record to document attendance at a training session. Follow these steps to add a new training request.

Press the Add a New Training button.  The Common Courses box uses an auto-populate feature to display commonly entered courses.

  • Currently, this option only contains the four Conservation Planning in-person courses. 
  • For all other training courses, use the Enter Course Name field to type in the name of the course.
  • Leaving the TTCP Training box unchecked places the record into the Other Trainings table. 
  • The check box for TTCP training should be used if you’d like to enter your completion of TTCP trainings prior to 8/1/19.  Checking this box will place the training record in the TTCP Trainings history table. Please do not enter TTCP sponsored trainings that you attend after 8/1/2019.  TTCP staff will enter those for you.   
  • Make sure to choose the correct Category that ties your training to a skill in the IDP Skills Matrix.
Select the Add button to create the training record.  You will then see a Successfully Created message.  Select a Category from the pull-down, as all asterisk fields are required fields and need to be populated. 
  • If your training record does not fit into one of the IDP Skills Matrix categories, we recommend using the closest one such as Other Certification or Practice-Specific to complete the training history record.

My Credentials

This video shows how to view your current credentials.

 

IDP tool screenshot

The My Credentials tab provides a snapshot of training related credentials.  There are three sub-tabs within the My Credentials tab. The first two, Engineering JAA and Ecological Sciences JAA, are read-only tables. The data contained in these tables is imported from the official MN NRCS JAA database. At the bottom of each table is the date the last import occurred. Inputs should occur twice a year. So if you’ve recently received JAA, the table may not contain your updated JAA levels. Staff can run a report to get a summary of their currently imported JAA levels in the Profiles tab. However, MN NRCS maintains the official Job Approval Authorities.

IDP tool screenshot

The third category of credentials is the Non-JAA & Other Certifications tab. Items in this table are entered by users and can be edited or deleted. Choose the Add Credentials button to create new credential records. Upon entering information, press the Add button to record the information in your credentials’ table, or click the Return to My Credentials button to exit the window.

The pull-down options for Select Type are Non-JAA and Other (i.e. Other Certifications). Non-JAA refers to common practices where the NRCS JAA charts typically do not apply. Choosing Non-JAA will allow the Conservation Practice pull-down to show practices from the IDP Skills Matrix in the non-JAA category. The Certification Title can be left blank. Enter the Certifying Organization. For example: if your SWCD Board granted you authority to sign-off on a practice, list your SWCD Board's full name. Include a Date (e.g. board meeting date) when that occurred for accurate records. The Skills Matrix can be helpful in completing this portion of the IDP.

If you choose the Type Other, you can record any other credentials/certifications you have. We encourage you to record Conservation Planner status (e.g. Apprentice Conservation Planner) here. Certifications for any FOTG conservation practices, where you would normally get JAA (not common), could be inputted here too. You should enter the conservation practice in the Certification Title box (e.g. “PS 412 up to 100 cfs”).

MANAGERS ONLY: To add new credentials for your staff under the Non-JAA and Other Certifications tab, you will need to use the Select Staff pull-down and click the Show button, even if you have done that on a previous tab. The Add Credential button will then appear and their current list of credentials will be displayed.

Profiles

IDP tool screenshot

The Profiles tab allows you to look up and create reports for individuals or multiple staff, even across multiple organizations. Use any of the filters to narrow down to a group of individuals or individual you’d like to include in a report. Note: selecting more than one filter behaves as an “and” and limits results. 

Select which filter category you’d like to use:

  • Current Credentials
  • Desired Technical Skills
  • Training History

Based on your selection, you’ll need to provide additional information to further narrow the search (e.g. Desired Technical Skills/ Basic Technical Skill/ Basic Hydrology). 

Press the Search button to view all staff meeting your search criteria. 

Then choose the report you wish to run for those staff using the Generate Report pull-down. 

Press the Go button to generate an Excel spreadsheet report. The report may contain more information than you need, but you can sort and filter the results in Excel.

Here are the reports and report descriptions:

  1. JAA Summary: returns all JAA for the individuals selected.
  2. Training Needs Summary: returns all training requests in the My Training Needs section for the individuals selected.
  3. Non-JAA & Credentials: returns all credentials from this table in the My Credentials section for the individuals selected.

Manager Roles: Add/Edit Organizational Priorities, Enter/Update Technical Training Requests for Staff

Follow these steps to add a Priority Resource Concern for your organization:

  1. Select your main resource concerns in your organization’s boundary (e.g. county). Add as many resource concerns as you would like. Upon closing the window, all resource concerns selected will refresh and be displayed in the table.   
  2. To add practices, select the Add a New Priority Practice button. The first pull down will display your priority resource concerns. Note that the Priority Practices list is not restricted based on your resource concerns. 
  3. To choose a practice, type the practice code or start typing the practice name. The auto-populate feature will display the closest matches. 
  4. Click on the practice you want to add and press the Add button. Continue adding as many practices as you would like. Upon closing the window, all practices you selected will be displayed in the table. You can edit and delete practices directly within the table using the icons in the Action column on the right.

Follow these steps to add Technical Training for your staff:

  1. Go to the My Training Needs tab. Choose your Organization from the pull down and select Go.
  2. Choose a staff member from the Select Staff pull down, and press Show. Press the Create New Request button.
  3. Select the desired skill/practices and press Save. You will then see the Successfully Created message.
  4. To add another training request press the Create New Request button and repeat step 3.
  5. When complete make sure to press the Save button. Select  the Go Back button to return to the My Training Needs page.
  6. Complete this process as necessary for additional staff.

Additional Resources & Contacts

Additional Resources

The additional resources below can help you get started and develop your individual development plan. This section will be updated periodically with the latest helpful materials.

Recorded Webinars

 


Other Resources

Contact us

  • Have a question about a specific course or a series of courses? Email TTCP staff
  • Having account or system usage issues? Need to reset your password, or need help unlocking your account, or help entering data? Contact eLINKsupport@state.mn.us  
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