The Government Employees Training Act (GETA), which became law on July 7, 1958, is the governmentwide authority for training federal employees (Title 5, United States Code, Chapter 41). The Act recognized the importance of federal employees' self development, and found it "necessary and desirable in the public interest that self-education, self-improvement, and self-training by such employees be supplemented and extended by government - sponsored programs."
The basic authority was reinforced by Executive Order 11348 states that it is the policy of the United States "to develop its employees through the establishment and operation of progressive and efficient training programs, thereby improving public service, increasing efficiency and economy, building and retaining a workforce of skilled and efficient employees, and installing and using the best modern practices and techniques in the conduct of government’s business." Executive Order 11491 added the requirement to train personnel and management officials in labor management relations. The Equal Employment Opportunity Act required the establishment of training and education programs to provide maximum opportunity for employees to advance so as to perform at their highest potential. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 addressed the development of candidates for the Senior Executive Service and the continuing development of senior executives.
The March 1994 amendments to GETA broadened the purpose of training, and aligned it with agency performance objectives, making training a management tool responsive to the current and future needs of agencies. The legislation recognized that human resource development (HRD) has evolved from traditional training activities to include workplace learning, education, career management, organizational development, and performance improvement.
Policies and Programs
Human resource development programs may be authorized to:
◾Orient employees to the federal service, their agencies and organizational assignments, and conditions of employment.
◾Guide new employees to effective performance during their probationary period.
◾Provide knowledge and skills to improve job performance.
◾Prepare employees with demonstrated potential for increased responsibility in meeting future staffing requirements.
◾Provide continuing professional and technical training to avoid knowledge/skill obsolescence (e.g., keeping the skills of scientists, doctors, engineers, lawyers, registered nurses, computer programmers, procurement specialists, plumbers, electricians, and clerical employees current).
◾Implement reorganizations, changing missions, and administration initiatives.
◾Develop the managerial workforce focusing on competencies identified as essential to effective performance at supervisory, managerial, and executive levels (e.g., communication, interpersonal skills, human resource management, technology management, financial management, planning and evaluation, and vision).
◾Provide education leading to an academic degree if necessary to assist in the recruitment or retention of employees in occupations in which there are existing or anticipated shortage of qualified personnel, especially in those areas requiring critical skills. Provide for the career transition, training, and/or retraining of employees displaced by downsizing and restructuring.
◾Meeting Learning Needs.
Employee's performance-based learning needs may be met by:
◾Planned work experience, details, and developmental assignments.
◾On-the-job-learning and supervised practice.
◾Training and education provided through agency facilities, other government facilities, and nongovernment facilities.
◾Coaching and mentoring.