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7-1. Professional Development

Planning for professional development is an integral part of the performance management process. Along with meaningful performance-related discussions that assist employees in reinforcing strengths and correcting weaknesses, professional development opportunities may include sabbaticals, classroom training, on-the-job training, mentoring, special developmental assignments, participation in professional and civic organizations, and writing professional articles for publication. Rating supervisors should encourage employees to seek professional developmental opportunities and reward them appropriately (e.g.; through awards, challenging work assignments, and promotions) when they succeed in enhancing their value to the organization.

7-2. Expanded Developmental Opportunity Program.

  1. The MRDC Expanded Developmental Opportunities Program will cover all demonstration project employees. An expanded developmental opportunity complements existing developmental opportunities such as (1) long-term training, (2) one-year work experiences in an industrial setting via the Relations With Industry Program, (3) one-year work experiences in laboratories of allied nations via the Science and Engineer Exchange Program, (4) rotational job assignments within the MRDC, (5) developmental assignments in higher headquarters within the Army and DoD, (6) self-directed study via correspondence courses and local colleges and universities, (7) details within MRDC and to other Federal Agencies, and (8) Intergovernmental Personnel Act Agreements.
  2. Each developmental opportunity period should benefit the MRDC, as well as increase the employee's individual effectiveness. Various learning or uncompensated developmental work experiences may be considered, such as advanced academic teaching or research, sabbaticals, or on-the-job work experience with public or non-profit organizations.
    1. An expanded developmental opportunity period will not result in loss of (or reduction in) basic pay, leave to which the employee is otherwise entitled, or credit for time or service. Input for performance rating purposes will be obtained from the gaining organization to ensure a rating of record is on file, and if warranted, a base pay increase and/or bonus payment and retention years credit for RIF purposes is documented.
    2. Employees accepting an Expanded Developmental Opportunity must sign a continuing service agreement as cited in 5 U.S.C. 4108 (a)(1); in the event that the employee fails to carry out the intent/conditions of the developmental opportunity (except for good and sufficient reason as determined by the activity Commander/Director), the employee shall be liable to the United States for payment of all expenses. The amount shall be treated as a debt due the United States.
  3. The opportunity to participate in the Expanded Developmental Opportunities Program will be announced as opportunities arise. Instructions for application and the selection criteria will be included in the announcement. Final selection/approval for participation in the program will be made by activity Commanders/Directors. The position of employees on an expanded developmental opportunity may be backfilled by temporary promotion, or temporary/contingent employees. However, that position or its equivalent must be made available to the employee returning from the expanded developmental opportunity.

7-3. Career Management

  1. Procedures for using career referrals and registering employees for the E&S Payband (DB-II, III, & IV) and Administrative Payband (DJ-III, IV, & V) that are covered under a specific career program are established.
  2. Employees are eligible to register in the career programs covered by occupational series for which they are willing to self-certify. At the option of the manager, local recruitment methods may be used in conjunction with mandatory career program methods to supplement the recruitment effort.
  3. Management will contact the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) for assistance and advice on available recruitment sources for filling vacancies.

7-4. Long-Term Training/Sabbaticals

  1. Long-Term Training and Sabbaticals under the Personnel Demonstration Project are established. Nomination and approval procedures are defined below.
  2. General Principles:
    1. Long-Term Training:
      1. Is defined as full-time training assignments in excess of 120 consecutive calendar days. Long Term Training includes formal training programs, full-time academic study programs, and planned developmental assignments. Training is the process for providing a planned, prepared, and coordinated program, course, curriculum, or routine of instruction which will improve individual and organizational performance.
      2. Selections must be based on competitive procedures.
      3. Requires employees to sign an obligated service agreement prior to beginning of training period to serve three times the length of the training period in activity assigned to prior to training period. If he/she voluntarily leaves before the service obligation is completed, the employee is liable for repayment. The activity Commander/Director has authority to waive this agreement.
  3. Sabbatical:
    1. Is defined as an opportunity for career employees to engage in study or uncompensated work experience that will contribute to their development and experience. Each sabbatical must result in a product, service, report, or study that will benefit the MRDC mission as well as increase the individual effectiveness of the employee. Sabbaticals may include, but are not limited to: (1) advanced academic teaching, study, or research, (2) self-directed or guided study, and (3) on-the-job work experience with a public, private, commercial, or private nonprofit organization.
    2. Is 3-12 months in duration.
    3. May be granted to an employee in any 10-year period. All employees are eligible for sabbaticals after completing 7 years federal service.
    4. Selections must be based on competitive procedures.
    5. Employees on sabbaticals will be paid their government salary and receive all benefits to which otherwise entitled.
    6. Employee must sign an obligated service agreement prior to beginning of the training or sabbatical to serve three times the length of the training period in activity assigned to prior to training period. The activity Commander/Director has authority to waive this agreement.
  4. Distinction between Sabbatical and Long-Term Training:
      Sabbatical Long-Term Training
    Duration 3-12 months 120 days or longer
    Eligibility All employees eligible after completing 7 years federal service Generally must be in a DA Career Program, GS-11 or greater
    Frequency Eligible for one every 10 years No restrictions
    Payback Three times length to activity Three times length to activity
    Substance Must result in product, service, report, or study that benefits activity Individual professional development which benefits activity
    Approval Authority Commanders/Directors Commanders/Directors
    • Attachments
      1. Application Procedures
      2. Appraisals for Employees on Long-Term Training and Sabbaticals

      Attachment 1: Application Procedures for Long-Term Training and Sabbaticals

      Long-Term Training:

      • Step 1: Requester prepares a DD Form 1556.
      • Step 2: Request submitted through supervisory channels, including the Activity Career Program Manager (if applicable), to Commanders/Directors.
      • Step 3: All applications for long-term training for employees in DA Career Programs must be submitted to DA for funding. Requesting organizations must submit a Personnel Action Request (SF-52) documenting the Long-Term Training Assignment.
      • Step 4: Applications are submitted to MEDCOM and DA for approval/funding.


      • Step 1: Requester prepares a DD Form 1556.
      • Step 2: Request submitted through supervisory channels, including the Activity Career Program Manager (if applicable), to Commanders/Directors.
      • Step 3: Since sabbaticals are not funded by DA, Commanders/Directors or equivalent have final approval authority and funding responsibility. Requesting organizations must submit a Personnel Action Request (SF-52) documenting the Sabbatical.


      Attachment 2: Appraisals for Employees on Long-Term Training and Sabbaticals

      1. Expanded developmental opportunities typically fit into two general categories: Classroom and developmental (on-the-job) training.
        1. Classroom Training: Assignments that involve classroom work are covered by two options. The first is to render a rating as soon as the employee returns to the position of record and completes 60 days under a performance plan. In this option, the employee's performance appraisal is based on job performance only. Classroom performance is not included in the performance appraisal. The second option is to develop a performance plan and render a rating based on the classroom performance only.
        2. Developmental Training: Developmental assignments should be treated as any other temporary assignment that continues for 60 days or more. A performance plan is established and the incumbent receives a special or annual rating upon completion.
      2. Employees participating in expanded developmental opportunities are eligible to be considered for pay for performance increases as appropriate.
      3. Employees on Long-Term Training and Sabbaticals lasting 120 days or more require performance objectives and performance is normally documented by special appraisals. Information provided in the special appraisal should be considered in preparing the annual evaluation.

7-5. Authority to Approve Short-Term Training

  1. Authority to approve short-term (less than 120 consecutive calendar days) training is established.
  2. Authority to approve all short-term training is delegated to division/branch chiefs who have received prescribed training developed by DA. This authority cannot be transferred or redelegated.
  3. Supervisors may exercise this authority only after they have attended appropriate training conducted by members of the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center.

7-6. Potential Federal Income Tax Liability for Training

  1. Non-Taxable: The Internal Revenue Service rule for exclusion of employer paid educational expenses from income of employees is that the education must maintain or improve their skills as employees. The following are examples of training that would not be subject to federal tax:
    1. Employer-provided undergraduate or graduate training that will improve individual and organizational performance and assist in achieving the agency's mission and performance goals is non-taxable. For example, graduate level mechanical engineering training for a Mechanical Engineer is non-taxable since that training should improve that employee's mechanical engineering skills.
    2. Training needed or potentially needed to perform duties at the same level of responsibility that are assigned or anticipated to be assigned to an employee by his/her chain of command. For example, a mechanical engineer assigned electronics engineering tasks by his/her supervisor could attend electronics training needed to perform these new duties.
    3. Training given to employees competitively selected for programs such as upward mobility/intern/functional trainee that causes a change in his/her current job series, provided that such training begins after the employee has been reassigned into the new job series. For example, and Engineering Technician competitively selected for and reassigned into an Engineering position can receive engineering training after he/she is reassigned into the engineering position.
    4. Education expenses for students hired under programs such as the Student Career Experience Program that are related to the duties of the position to which the student is assigned. For example, science, engineering, and computer science courses for a Student Trainee (Engineering).
  2. Taxable: Employees must be made fully aware of their potential income tax liability of their Temporary Duty (TDY) assignment, including training assignment that is at one location for more than a year. A TDY assignment for more than a year is considered by the Internal Revenue Service to be permanent in nature and any reimbursement received by the employee is taxable income. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code, 26 USC 162(a), does not permit deduction for travel expenses (including amounts expended for meals and lodging) during a TDY assignment if the assignment exceeds one year.
  3. Potentially Taxable: Any employer-provided educational assistance that helps an employee meet minimum qualification requirements for a new occupation or prepares the employee for a different occupation that is provided to the employee prior to reassignment into such a position is potentially taxable. It is very difficult to assess the degree to which training will enhance the employee's ability to perform the duties of his/her current occupation/series as opposed to a different occupation/series. For example, an electronics technician's performance may be enhanced by completion of courses in calculus, differential equations, or other academic courses required for classification as an engineer. This type of training would be considered primarily as improving the electronics technician's skills in his/her current positions, even though these courses might also contribute to qualifying the electronic technician for an engineering position. However, training expenses for a personnel specialist to become an electronics engineer are potentially taxable.