The director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources defends a program that takes employees into the field to learn about the department’s programs. Jeff Vonk says the program is valuable, even in a time when he has said his department needs more workers and time to do their jobs. He says this is a chance for people who aren’t normally in the outdoors to get some “on-the-job” training and to see what exactly the department does. Vonk says many of the people who are in the D-N-R offices have a lot of contact with the public. He says they answer a lot of questions on the phone and they have a lot of walk-in clients, so the people in the D-N-R offices need to know what’s going on. He says training is important to having good employees.He says there’s a high expectation of government employees, and to meet that expectation, they need to be trained in the subjects the department deals with. Vonk says the training is similar to watching a training video, but it’s a real experience.He says they have trained professionals working with the employees and teaching them, so it is much more interactive that sitting in an office and watching a training video. The first “Step Outside” program had some D-N-R employees visit Lake Red Rock in November to view eagles and ducks as a state wildlife biologist would.
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