Much like ship maintenance is a mandatory requirement for a successful Navy, so too is ensuring that the engineers who support the fleet continue to sustain their expert-level proficiency. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) recognizes it must “Expand the Advantage” to maintain world class expertise by developing and sustaining a world class workforce through a systematic approach to assessing proficiency levels.
To fulfill this important mandate, Adam (Scott) Freedner, the Chief Engineer (CHENG) at NSWCPD, virtually hosted two Technical Competency Lunch and Learn information sessions. Held earlier this year on Sept. 10 and Sept. 17, those sessions were designed to explain NSWCPD’s Technical Competency Development Program and the importance of the program to maintaining world class expertise.
“We were looking for a way to get the word out regarding initiatives we have taken or processes our people needed to be aware of,” explained Freedner. “We wanted to do more than just send all hands emails. The Lunch and Learn sessions also offer our people the opportunity to ask more questions.”
The first two virtual Lunch and learn sessions focused on NSWCPDs Technical Competency Program, created to document and manage how NSWCPD employees acquire and maintain qualifications in the technical competencies required to support NSWCPD's Technical Capabilities (TCs) and Knowledge Areas (KAs), as well as to execute its mission.
The program ensures a two-way conversation between department/division/branch heads and their employees regarding each individual’s own developmental goals. From there, staff members can continue to complete their training through the U.S. Navy’s online Total Workforce Management System (TWMS), track/verify completion of requirements, and reach certified proficiency levels via a proprietary Workforce E-Tool. The program also helps employees create career development plans and timelines. In addition, NSWCPD will be enabled to make more informed hiring decisions based on areas of need, increase knowledge stewardship, and prevent loss of knowledge.
NSWCPD CHENG Lunch and Learn sessions began in the fall of 2018 with in-office meetings, but COVID-19 has since pushed the program to the virtual realm. The CHENG office has utilized this switch efficiently, creating an online reference center.
“Now that we are using hosting our meetings online and recording the sessions, there is the opportunity to create an information library our people can utilize whenever they like,” Freedner explained. “We are never out of topics.”
Also surprisingly, going virtual increased the Lunch and Learn attendance.
“When we were doing live and rotating through the buildings we would get between 25 and 40 people. Using Teams we usually have about 80 people per session,” noted Freedner.
Hopefully in the near future, the Lunch and Learn Sessions return in person. But until then, Freedner remains focused on ensuring NSWCPD technical personnel have the requisite information to enrich their careers.
“A primary function of the CHENG office is to ensure rigor is applied to everything we do,” he added. “The Lunch and Learn sessions allow us to share information that our people can utilize on a project and possibly help a team achieve their goals. Any way our office can help our people succeed is very rewarding.”
NSWCPD employs approximately 2,700 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team does the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery, ship machinery systems, and related equipment and material for Navy surface ships and submarines. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.