No Talking Heads! Stormwater Program Training Strategies that Engage Your Audience and Leave a Lasting Impression
A key element of all municipal stormwater permits is staff training. In fact, stormwater regulations consider staff training a fundamental component of a successful stormwater program. Permits, therefore, require that the Permittees train their staff on key stormwater program principles on a regular frequency. While the level of specificity varies from permit to permit, core program elements are typically targeted for training (e.g., construction, industrial/commercial, illicit discharges). Training is fundamentally necessary for a stormwater program because it is inherently linked to employee understanding and performance. Even well designed programs can have problems when agency staff don’t understand how they need to perform their job functions so that they are consistent with the goals and objectives stormwater program.
Given the importance of staff training to the success of the stormwater program and the amount of time and resources invested by agencies in staff training, Permittees should engage in thoughtful consideration to the design of the overall training program and the training techniques employed in order to optimize the training. A well-developed training program needs to stress the importance of the municipal stormwater program and encourage and identify how the agency staff can take an active role in its implementation and deliver these key messages in an engaging manner to help staff retain those messages.
Developing a training program strategy allows Permittees to identify the range of training required, the key target audiences, the training approach and content, and/or the schedule for implementation. As a result of this type of strategic planning, many of these stormwater agencies have begun to think about the core competencies that training modules should address and innovative ways to engage their target audiences.
This discussion will present the range of options that are available to allow Phase I and Phase II municipal stormwater programs to move away from ‘check the box” training approaches to developing functional and engaging training programs. The presentation will provide a series of examples from programs already implementing these techniques. Specific topics to be addressed include:
• The range of municipal stormwater program training-related permit requirements throughout the state;
• The drivers/need for effective training programs;
• Approaches and examples utilized for the development and implementation of training programs (development of strategic plans vs. module by module development, development of true “training” vs. workshops, incorporation of interactive methods, etc.);
• Examples of the types training modules that have been developed and the methods utilized (in-person, webinar, train-the-trainer, etc.); and
• Recommended approaches and examples for assessing the effectiveness of the training programs (surveys/assessments, etc.).
As a result of this presentation, the participants will leave with a greater understanding of the range of approaches available and the tools to implement the approach that makes the most sense for their stormwater program. The author will engage the audience and make this an interactive experience through the use of visually pleasing graphics (instead of wordy slides) and a series of questions that will be asked of the audience members throughout.