OPM launches online university for human resources managers

Website offers courses and career development resources across government for a price.

The government on Tuesday launched an online tool designed to provide federal human resources managers with better training.

The Office of Personnel Management and the Chief Human Capital Officers Council announced the first phase of its Human Resources University, a Web-based platform offering a course catalog, career guide for current and future HR professionals, and information on specific topics, including recruitment and benefits.

The Human Resources University will provide online and classroom courses to HR managers governmentwide, at a cost. Users can register and track the courses that HRU offers, which will include a common core curriculum. OPM, other federal agencies and industry will offer various classes through the program.

"This training resource will save taxpayer money and improve the quality of our HR services," said OPM Director John Berry. "It will pool resources between agencies and reduce duplicative courses across government."

An August report from the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and consulting firm Grant Thornton LLP found 46 percent of 68 CHCOs surveyed reported their HR staffs lack the skills necessary to implement new federal hiring practices. In May, President Obama issued a memorandum on hiring reform, directing agencies to give HR managers training and more of a role in the hiring process. The CHCO Council and OPM have been working on developing the one-stop training portal for HR managers since 2009.

OPM plans to launch the next phases of the project during the next several months. The second stage involves talking to vendors outside government who are interested in offering human resources training, and the final step is combining the core competencies and courses into a certification program for managers.