Career development, advancement Concerns raised to management by nearly 50 members

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The importance of improving professional development and providing more career advancement opportunities was shared by 50 MAPE members last week with officials from Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) and the governor’s office.  

Heather Hirsch Local 1001

“In order to hire and retain a diverse workforce across the state we need to be intentional about career development and it takes all agencies, not just MMB, to be involved,” said Local 1001 Membership Secretary Heather Hirsch (pictured on the left). “MAPE members are not feeling supported in their own professional development. There are barriers around supervisors and managers talking about professional development, and barriers around professional development courses being offered statewide.”

Landyn Prescott-Miles, a caseworker at the Minnesota Correctional Facility St. Cloud, recounted how during her interviews she was told she would be able to advance within the system but has not seen that happen. She said she’s applied 17 times for other positions within the Department of Corrections (DOC), interviewed nine times and continually told she was an excellent candidate but lacked supervisory experience.

“No one is ever born with supervisory experience,” she said. “I’ve seen many people leave and then come back several years later with the necessary skills. People shouldn’t have to leave DOC to get skills to advance in their careers.”  

Career development and advancement

In the photo on the right, Local 1702’s Landyn Prescott-Miles shares her professional development experiences as Gov. Dayton’s Chief of Staff Joanna Dornfeld and MMB Commissioner Myron Frans look on from the front table.  

A Joint Labor-Management Committee on Professional Development was formed earlier this year to address employee concerns. Hirsch serves on the committee and said meetings so far have focused primarily on learning about best practices currently used by agencies and professionals.

“The Housing Finance Agency has the best training reimbursement of any agency. The Department of Transportation (MNDOT) is one of only a few agencies that encourages managers to talk with employees about professional development, and our MAPE data shows that MNDOT employees have a pretty high level of work satisfaction,” Hirsch said.  

Investing in state workers is very important to the governor, Gov. Mark Dayton’s chief of staff, Joanna Dornfeld, told the group. “We were so proud of the paid parental leave work that was led by you," she said "Training and development are where we can have another win. Investing in our state employees is so critically important because you carry out the work for Minnesotans. Investments in state employees and infrastructure is the number one priority and I will be putting this into my letter to the next governor’s transition team.”

“You all do more for our workforce than anyone," MMB Commissioner Myron Frans said. "Increasing talent and growth opportunities for our state employees is important to the next governor.”

Hirsch said the next few meetings of the Joint Labor-Management Committee on Professional Development will focus on developing recommendations for MAPE’s Negotiations Committee.

“Lots of topics have been discussed at the Joint Labor-Management Committee: Career pathways, tuition reimbursement, and better training for managers and supervisors around better supporting their employees. Our goal is to have recommendations for the Negotiations Team, but also have recommendations that don’t have to be included in the contract and will expand opportunities for members,” Hirsch said.