For the 14th year, the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands at Indiana University has started a yearlong professional development program (the Facility Manager Leaders Program or FMLP) in collaboration with the National Park Service. The program focus is on facility managers who are responsible for all operations and maintenance of facility systems in the National Park Service including environmental systems, utilities, monuments, visitor centers, roads-bridges and trails, and resource protection assets. With over 75,000 assets with a Current Replacement Value of approximately $155.00 billion and a Deferred Maintenance of about $12 billion, facility managers in the National Park Service have to balanced complicated federal rules, systems, operations, and maintenance requirements with complex leadership strategies that enable adaption and change.
The FMLP provides a year of focused learning for the 16 students from around the nation in Class 14 ending in April 2021. Joining the students are 16 mentors also from around the nation who serve to guide and support the students’ growth. The FMLP is the only National Park Service program to win the W. Edwards Deming Outstanding Training Award from the Graduate School USA https://mylearning.nps.gov/library-resources/w-edwards-deming-award/
Return on Investment evaluation has shown that the FMLP program is highly effective. The research finds that 228 park units were influenced by students, mentors, or course components of the FMLP, and 94% of FMLP student graduates still work at the agency. Additionally, FMLP students and mentors provide other NPS employees with mentoring that has resulted in a subsequent promotion. Further, the multi-year evaluation of the program has shown that:
- Approximately 24% of recent Facility Management hires were FMLP students or mentors
- Approximately 86% of students more than 5 years out of the program have received promotions many of them to NPS leadership positions at the park, region, and national level
- On average, FMLP students receive 35% more promotions than control group employees
National Park Service and Indiana University faculty have jointly created the FMLP and teach throughout the year in 3 classroom events, and online monthly assignments including travel, development activities, online courses, and related assignments. The Class 14 students and mentors Park Service units from around the nation are identified in a short video clip found here.