March 22, 2011

Benefit Beat

Some LLEAP courses are available online. (Photo courtesy AADE)

Take a LLEAP to Advance Your Career

By William S. Bike

THE LIFELONG Learning and Education Access Program (LLEAP) is designed to provide permanent, non-faculty academic and open-range civil service support staff employed at UIC for at least one year with release time, flex time, and/or funds for development opportunities focused on enhancing a career at UIC.

EMPLOYEES can utilize the following benefits on an annual basis: Up to $200 and up to eight hours of release time for professional development activities; up to $200 for coursework not covered under a university tuition waiver; continuous flex time of four hours per week while enrolled in or actively pursuing an educational development activity; and release time of up to 16 hours per year for professional development activities.

ACCORDING TO Kim Morris Lee, Director of Organizational Effectiveness for UIC Human Resources (HR), LLEAP “is a policy that has been in place many years to encourage lifelong learning for our employees. Through completion of the appropriate form, employees may request an opportunity to participate in professional development programs. Employees can select training courses and programs that are provided by University of Illinois or an external professional organization to continue building competence in a specific professional area.”

THE BENEFIT for employees “is that they start developing skills and gaining additional knowledge to do their current job well at UIC; and it’s an opportunity to get skills for roles at the university that an individual might want in the future,” Morris Lee said. “If someone wants to develop a career at UIC, the goal would be to start thinking about, ‘What skills do I have currently that I need to enhance to get to the next level or the next position?’ or ‘What skills or knowledge do I need to acquire?’”

EVERY EMPLOYEE can benefit from LLEAP, said Morris Lee, “from those who just started to those who have been around for ten-to-15 years or more. This is a policy that allows employees the opportunity to develop as a professional and engage in the process of Lifelong Learning. There is always more to learn if you have interest in developing a career and becoming a workplace high performer.”

“LEADERSHIP ESSENTIALS” is an example of the type of program offered by Organizational Effectiveness for which LLEAP funds may be used, Morris Lee said.

“IT’S A two-day program for new supervisors and managers who are interested in learning more about some of the key responsibilities associated with their new role,” she noted.”

“DURING THE first day of the leadership essentials training there is significant conversation about communication and working with team members to accomplish goals.

The second day focuses on HR policies and procedures rather than day-to-day operations and skills needed to guide a team. On day two, experts from the Office of Access and Equity and across UIC HR present various topics such as Civil Service disciplinary procedures, performance review process, and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).”

AN AP interested in requesting LLEAP funds or time for professional development may view LLEAP information and download the form at Lifelong Learning and Education Access Program (LLEAP).

THE EMPLOYEE should give the completed LLEAP form to his/her manager for review and approval. According to Morris Lee, “After the employee receives the signed form from the manager, it is sent to Organizational Effectiveness. When the employee receives the signed form from Organizational Effectiveness, a copy is provided to the manager. At this point, the manager takes necessary steps to secure department funds (up to $200) and/or confirm release time for requested development opportunity.”

INSTRUCTOR-LED courses are during work hours. Those run by OE are offered on the West Side of campus. Other training courses and development opportunities are offered by various colleges and administrative units campus-wide. The MyCareer website provides information about many of these career development opportunities. Access the MyCareer website to view campus-wide offerings.

ONLINE COURSES may be completed during work hours, before or after work---24/7. These courses can be accessed via the MyCareer website. SkillSoft a provider of online training has partnered with OE to offer more than 100 online courses to UIC APs.

FOR MORE information about LLEAP or Career Development at UIC, contact Kim Morris Lee.

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