On July 1, 2013, legislation transferred responsibility for the Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) certification program and the Responsible Land Disturber (RLD) certificate program to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ). The legislation further required VDEQ to implement a new Stormwater Management (SWM) certification and training program. Time was a factor, as the legislation required VDEQ to have infrastructure in place by July 1, 2014. Total certified customers served include 3,000 ESC certified individuals, 8,000 RLD certificate holders, and an estimated additional 3,000 SWM certified individuals.
VDEQ analyzed business needs, gathered requirements, and determined that the entire program needed to be streamlined and modernized. The modernization effort included five facets:
- Training Design: VDEQ modernized erosion training materials from 2003 and developed new stormwater course materials using best practice instructional design principles.
- Training Administration: VDEQ stopped paper registrations and spreadsheet tracking, and moved customers to online self-enrollment through a Learning Management System and online credit card payments.
- Examination Management: VDEQ eliminated manual scoring of exams by state employees using Scantron equipment and bubble sheets, and eliminated manual mailing of certificates and pass/fail letters by outsourcing examination scheduling and management services.
- Recertification (CATS): VDEQ implemented a continuing education model for recertification, and designed, developed and deployed a customized web-based application called Certification Accreditation Tracking System (CATS; https://apps.deq.virginia.gov/CATS/)
- Responsible Land Disturber Certificate (RLD): VDEQ changed the requirements to obtain an RLD certificate to increase education value of the certificate. Instead of completing a 25-question open-book quiz, individuals now complete a 45-minute online course.
Results to Date:
- Improved efficiency in government:
- Trained over 8,000 people in ESC and SWM through 155 classes during the past 18 months, using four instructors and two admin staff.
- CATS reduced staff time and improved quality of data by eliminating manual tracking of certification lists and data entry, and initiating the mailing of hard copy certificates.
- CATS processed over $300,000 in credit card payments to the Commonwealth of Virginia, revenue which otherwise would have been received in check form and processed manually.
- Improved access to government services:
- Any member of the public now has 24/7 online access to data on certified individuals.
- More than 4,000 ESC and SWM certificate holders now manage their certification online, including self-service recertification.
- More than 2,000 RLD certificate holders have obtained or renewed their certificates online by launching and paying for a customized online course.