Career Incentive Program

Program Overview

The Career Incentive Program is an award program through which classified employees can be compensated for voluntarily enhancing their value to the district. Under the Career Incentive Program, full-time permanent classified employees may be eligible to receive a monthly salary increase of $100 upon verification of satisfactory completion of nine (9) units of approved coursework/activities within each three-year period. Employees who work less than full time receive a proportional increase based on the ratio of their employment to 40 hours. (For example: if an employee works 20 hours per week, they receive an increase of $50 per month [50 percent of $100].) *This increase is an addition to the base salary; it does not change the original base salary. This is part of the annual earnings when referring to benefit-eligible salary.

A. Career Incentive Award Limits
Each employee is limited to three (3) career-incentive award increases, regardless of when he/she began participation in the program. Programs may be started and completed every three-years, but must be completed within 5 year timeframe.

B. Eligibility
All permanent classified employees (employees who have passed the district’s probation period and attained permanent employment status with the district shall be eligible to participate in the program. Permanency must be attained before the first day of semester/term of the beginning of the Career Incentive Program. Classified managers (see Board of Trustees Policy VI.D) and hourly/temporary classified employees are not eligible for participation in the Career Incentive program.

C. Eligible Courses
Courses suitable for the Career Incentive Program must be related to the employee’s current position or appropriate for the employee’s declared career goal as defined below. Intended course work must be approved as meeting one of these two categories at the time of application. A Career Incentive Program
may include both types of courses:

1. Job-related courses are those undertaken to acquire new or more advanced skills or knowledge beyond the skills or knowledge reasonably expected for entrance into the employee’s current position and which shall be clearly useful in the current position.

2. Career-development courses are those courses undertaken to meet education requirements for another position existing or planned within the district and which the employee can realistically expect to achieve.

Examples of eligible courses include, but are not limited to community-services classes, college courses (credit/noncredit college courses, late-start classes, online classes, and/or open-entry/open-exit courses). Coursework required for or needed as preparation for the specific major and/or general education is to be
completed prior to career-incentive credit being granted for electives.

In recognition of the district’s commitment to wellness, physical-activity classes will be allowed at the rate of one physical activity course per Career Incentive Program (i.e., dance, physical education). Similarly, due to the district’s commitment to maintaining currency with technology, course repeats of CIS classes (as allowed per the college catalog) may not occur within the same Career Incentive Program.

Career-incentive credit will be granted for workshops and seminars at a rate of one-quarter unit per four (4) hours, one-third unit per six (6) hours, and one-half unit per full eight (8) hours of workshop attendance, with a maximum of four (4) units for each Career Incentive program. Satisfactory completion shall mean completion of courses with a grade of C, CR, or better.

D. Ineligible Courses
Training in operating systems and software applications that are part of the minimum qualifications for an employee’s current position is not eligible for a Career Incentive Program. This would include upgrades such as from Windows 98 to Windows XP. Please see information regarding Administrative Procedure IV.C-04 for the enrollment fee reimbursement program.

Conferences, workshops, seminars, and other types of in-service training (such as PeopleSoft) for which the employee is paid or which is provided for by the district on or off campus and work-experience education are not eligible for the Career Incentive Program.

E. Application Process
Employees who wish to participate in the Career Incentive Program must complete and submit an application form, with their supervisor’s signature, to Human Resources before a course begins and according to the timeline below:

1. July 1 for fall semester course work/activities occurring August 1 to December 31.

2. December 1 for spring semester course work/activities occurring January 1 to May 31.

3. May 1 for summer semester course work/activities occurring June 1 to July 31.

To apply for workshop/seminar or conference credit, the completed application must be submitted to the committee with a brochure or flyer from the workshop/seminar. Applications must be submitted for approval three (3) weeks prior to the date it begins. Exceptions are subject to the discretion of the committee on a case-by-case basis.

All applications shall include the school(s), course numbers, titles, and number of
units of the courses to be taken, as well as a brief written justification of why each course is job-related or career development, and how the completed course work will benefit the District. With every application, participants must also submit unofficial transcripts of all course work taken previously to avoid any duplication.

(*Additionally, if the course(s) is/are career development, an Educational Plan of required coursework developed in consultation with a college counselor must be submitted with the application.) This plan shall explain how the employee intends to achieve the stated career goal/position’s objective. The employee may be required by the committee to submit further verification of the appropriateness of planned course work.

F. Program Guidelines
Nine (9) semester units or 14 quarter units of college course work, or 30 units of high school coursework must be completed within a five-year period. Once a five-year program has begun, the program’s five-year timeframe continues whether or not the approved course(s) taken are completed or dropped by the participant. Any changes to an existing approved program (e.g., adding or dropping courses, changing goals) must be resubmitted to the Career Incentive Committee for approval. If the program is completed early within the five-year period, the participant must notify Director, Human Resources so that the Career
Incentive compensation can commence.

The five-year period shall begin on the date specified by the employee in the application. No courses will be approved retroactively except for workshops/seminars announced by the seminar’s institution/company after the application deadline.

Participation in the Career Incentive Program must be on the employee’s own time and at his/her own expense. No salary credit will be given for course work taken on district paid time or at the direction of the district. An employee desiring to enroll in classes/workshops/seminars during working
hours must follow these procedures:

1. Discuss with supervisor the course(s) desired and arrange for absence from duty for the time required to attended class(es).

2. Make arrangements to have the duty station covered during the period of absence, if necessary, and have arrangements approved by the supervisor.

3. Arrange to make up time lost within the same work week.

4. Direct a memorandum to Human Resources setting forth the approved changes in the work schedule and the beginning and ending dates thereof. The supervisor’s approval shall accompany the employee’s memorandum; both shall be placed in the employee’s personnel file. If an employee changes positions at MiraCosta College, the employee will not need to wait for completion of the new position’s one-year probation in order to participate within the Career Incentive Program. Career-incentive compensation
shall remain a permanent part of any non-management employee’s salary regardless of a change in classification resulting from change in position, rating, voluntary demotion, transfer, or classification review.

Career-incentive compensation will discontinue for employees promoted to management positions, as well as their eligibility to participate in new Career Incentive Program.

G. Program Completion
Upon completion of the Career Incentive program, the employee shall immediately give written notification to the Director, Human Resources and submit an official transcript verifying satisfactory completion of each course taken as part of the Career Incentive Program as soon as it is available. After the workshop/seminar is completed, evidence of attendance (i.e., receipt for registration, etc.) must be submitted within sixty (60) days.

The participating employee shall receive an increase of $100 per month. The increase shall become effective the first pay period following the end of the five year period or, if the employee completes the program in less than five years, the increase will become effective on the January 1, June 1, or August 1 following completion. This increase is an addition to the base salary; it does not change the original base salary. This is part of the annual earnings when referring to benefit-eligible salary. Employees who work less than full-time will receive a proportional increase based on the ratio of their employment to forty hours.

Employees who began an approved nine-unit Career Incentive Program prior to July 1, 1987, received a salary increase equal to five (5) percent of their monthly salary at the time they completed the nine units of approved course work. Future compensation associated with this Career Incentive Program will remain at the initial dollar amount unless the employee’s working hours change. In this event, the dollar amount will be proportionately decreased or increased. (See example in the above paragraph.)

Employees who have completed approved nine-unit Career Incentive Programs prior to June 30, 1987, will continue to be paid the dollar amount of the career incentive salary increase(s) applicable to their FY88 salary, or $100, whichever is greater.

Effective July 1, 2004, the amount of the stipend was increased from $75 to $100 per month. All other provisions shall remain unchanged unless indicated above.

Text from Administrative Procedure 7160: Professional Development

Application form

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