The Reimagined Annual TOC Distinguished Service Awards Program


The Annual TOC Distinguished Service Awards Program was launched by the Training Officers Consortium in 1955 to stimulate improved government-sponsored training programs through recognition of individuals making significant contributions to the Federal training community in the areas of training, education, and career development.

This year, TOC has transformed the awards program, to include many new award categories, an improved nomination form, a more rigorous selection process, and a new ceremony date & location. We are pleased to host the Distinguished Service Awards Ceremony during the Annual Institute in May 2023, in Ocean City, MD.

The nomination process now calls for more depth, such as a comprehensive narrative which illustrates a strong story with detailed results. Greater emphasis is placed on outcomes vs. activity, and the overall ‘rigor’ has increased. For example, we require verification of the project, program, or initiative to include data to support its outcomes and impact. Everything entered in the nomination form will be verified and substantiated. In addition to the completed form, nominators must submit artifacts, samples, photos, videos, and other forms of documentation. When sharing tangible materials is neither possible nor practical — perhaps due to classification, the sensitive nature of the project or other restrictions — virtual validation visits and demos will be required.

The ten new award categories better reflect current trends in our industry, new priorities, and contemporary practice.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Virtual Training Design & Development Training Design & Development Advanced Training Technologies Change Management Leadership Management and Executive Development Preparing for the Future of Work Learning Measurement, Impact/ROI, Evaluation and Data Analytics Knowledge Management Coaching

Nominations close February 15, 2023. As was stated above, the new TOC Annual Distinguished Service Awards nomination form requires much more detailed information than the previous version, so get started soon!

Click here to access additional details about the awards program and updated nomination form!

Full Category Descriptions
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA)
On June 25, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce. It launched a whole-of-government initiative to cultivate a federal workforce that draws from the full diversity of the nation and advances equitable employment opportunities. The Executive Order reaffirms that our nation is at its strongest when our workforce reflects the communities it serves. The Federal Government (and TOC as well) strongly believes that a diverse workforce in an inclusive environment will improve individual and organizational performance and result in better value to customers, clients, taxpayers, and other stakeholders. This category encompasses initiatives for advancing DEI&A; to include concrete strategies and best practices to recruit, hire, include, develop, retain, engage and motivate a diverse, results-oriented, high-performing workforce.

Virtual Training Design & Development
Rapid advances in technology have transformed the workplace and changed the way we learn. The application of learning technologies into learning and development programs has rapidly increased, especially in today’s post-pandemic hybrid work environments. This category encompasses training design and development initiatives using virtual technologies to support learning and performance, such as webinars, live-streamed synchronous classes, blended learning, web-conferencing, microlearning, podcasts, multimedia, and eLearning.

Training Design & Development
Training and development include any activity that helps employees acquire new, or improve existing, knowledge or skills. Training is a formal process by which training professionals help workers improve their performance. Development is the acquisition of knowledge, skill, or attitude that prepares people for new directions or responsibilities. This category encompasses “traditional” training design & development initiatives. This category does not include other forms of employee development including coaching, mentoring, informal learning, self-directed
learning, or experiential learning.

Advanced Training Technologies (e.g., immersive environments, VR, simulations, serious games)
Breakthrough technologies impacting how people work, shop, entertain, and live have provided new ways for people to learn. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), for instance, are enabling new and immersive types of learning experiences, driving the emergence of the metaverse, an entirely new digital world for immersive experiences. Likewise, games and gamification are powerful ways to enhance engagement, adding elements of story, challenge, motivation, and other gaming principles to improve learning outcomes. This category encompasses training initiatives utilizing these advanced and emerging technologies.

Change Management
Change management is a term used to define the broad range of complex activities, functions, and tools through which an organization deals with the introduction of something new that is relevant for both its survival and growth. As a discipline, change management guides how we prepare, equip, and support individuals to successfully adapt to change. As an organizational process, change management is aimed at helping stakeholders accept and embrace changes in their operating environment through the application of a set of tools, processes, skills, and principles for managing the ‘people’ side of transformation in order to achieve the desired outcomes. This category encompasses change and transformation initiatives.

Leadership, Management and Executive Development
The Federal Government (and TOC as well) believes in fostering a strong foundation of leadership skills and competencies for all employees, to perform better in their current and future positions. Leaders must effectively direct, influence, motivate and inspire. Likewise, managers and senior executives require strong technical skills such as planning, budgeting, staffing, and resource management. Providing effective training to help people along the path to
becoming a top-notch leader, manager or executive is critical. This category encompasses training initiatives geared toward the development of (aspiring) leaders, supervisors, managers, and executives.

Preparing for the Future of Work
The future is coming, and we can shape it. Organizations both public and private are transitioning to a new way of working, and certainly a new way of learning. The Federal government increasingly embraces hybrid work environments and promotes a flexible workforce. Knowing what the future workforce may need to accomplish our organizational goals is hard to anticipate; but with the right preparation, can set the current workforce up to meet
future needs when they arise. Tools to assist employees in career and personal development (such as Individual Development Plans) have become even more critical as we seek to help employees reach their short and long-term career goals, and to improve their current job performance. Skills, customer engagement, technical capacity, and more will shape how the future workforce contributes to moving the world forward. This category encompasses initiatives which address the future of work, the future of training, and preparing the workforce of the future.

Learning Measurement, Impact/ROI, Evaluation and Data Analytics
The Federal Government (and TOC as well) believes we have a duty to continually and systematically assess the value and impact of training provided to the federal workforce. Measuring and evaluating learning through rigorous data analytics can help decision makers determine whether the results warrant further investment to continue or expand the professional learning activities, or whether it is time to discontinue efforts and try a new approach. Gauging the learner performance using a variety of methods, information and approaches, helps L&D improve learning solution design and development. This category encompasses initiatives in the areas of determining learning effectiveness and/or impact, measuring return on investment, evaluating training outcomes, and the analysis of raw data to find trends, answer questions and extract insights.

Knowledge Management
Knowledge Management comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Knowledge Management facilitates the processes by which knowledge is created, shared and used in organizations. This category encompasses initiatives designed to find, create, and distribute knowledge for reuse, awareness, and learning across the organization.

Coaching is all about partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process, which in turn inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Federal agencies have increasingly offered formal coaching programs to enhance the career and personal development of their leaders and employees. Like mentoring, coaching is considered a helping activity, which enables individuals to achieve their full potential. This category encompasses
formal coaching program initiatives.