Masthead banner of Park Science: Integrating Research and Resource Management in the National Parks; ISSN 1090-9966; link to current issue
Volume 24
Number 2
Winter 2006-2007
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Table illustration. Workforce succession and training needs among National Park Service program managers
By William E. Hammitt, Lisa K. Machnik, Ellen D. Rodgers, and Brett A. Wright
Published: 4 Sep 2015 (online)  •  14 Sep 2015 (in print)
The situation
National Park Service response
Results and discussion
Implications and conclusions
Literature cited
About the authors
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Workforce succession—the dynamic change that occurs with the personnel and management of any institution—is an ongoing process that varies in both character and rate. Like natural succession, certain events and forces can initiate more dramatic types and rates of change in workforce succession than is normal. Retirement can be such an event and force. As the American population ages, so does its workforce. The baby boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, is preparing to retire and agencies and institutions must be concerned with who will replace those leaving the workforce. The National Park Service (NPS) is not immune to this successional event: it too must be cognizant of the dynamics of its workforce relative to the recruitment, training, and transfer of bureau knowledge during periods of employee and management succession. During employee succession certain questions become more pertinent: From what ranks will replacements come? Will they come from within the bureau, or should they be recruited from other institutions? What competencies are needed within the new workforce? What training will be needed in order to step into existing positions? How will bureau “heritage and tradition” be maintained as large numbers of senior personnel exit the workforce? Basically, what will be walking out of the doors of the National Park Service and what should or must be walking through these doors within the next 5–10 years so that competency erosion does not occur?

How will bureau “heritage and tradition” be maintained as large numbers of senior personnel exit the workforce?

Our research addresses some of these questions as we investigated the impending retirement/workforce succession of natural resource program managers within the National Park Service. We examined employee perceptions of how prepared they are to perform specific competencies, which the National Park Service identified as pertinent to senior-level job classifications (pay grade GS-12 and higher).

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This page updated:  5 April 2007

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