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Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer: Karlease Kelly

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U.S. Department of Agriculture

Dr. Karlease Kelly serves as the Provost of the USDA Virtual University in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Human Resources Management, Departmental Management.  Dr. Kelly provides vision and leadership and coordinates with all USDA Training Officers and human resources professionals on employee development and training policies and programs.  This includes managing USDA’s Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program, and overseeing USDA’s implementation of Federal training policies such as mentoring, individual development planning, details, new supervisor training, the Presidential Management Fellows program, intern training and development, and other programs to increase employee satisfaction and effectiveness.  She is a member of the federal Chief Learning Officers Council, and Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer for USDA. 

Prior to this, Dr. Kelly served in USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) as the Assistant Administrator for the FSIS Office of Outreach, Employee Education and Training.  In this position, she was responsible for developing the knowledge and skills of Agency and State employees, as well as conducting education and outreach activities to meet the needs of small and very small meat, poultry and egg processors to help them enhance their food safety and food defense systems.  Dr. Kelly has over sixteen years of government service in USDA.  Her experience includes working as an instructor, a Program Analyst, Chief of the Program Analysis Branch at the FSIS Technical Service Center, and the FSIS Chief Training Officer.  Under her leadership, FSIS became an Authorized Provider of continuing education units, and received the Exemplar Award from the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  She was instrumental in establishing the Agency’s policies related to training as a condition of employment, requiring entry level inspection personnel to pass a validated examination in order to continue working in their position.  She has also established a robust distance learning program that includes e-learning courses, webinars, videos, and self-study materials.  This included managing a video production team that created educational materials for the Agency.  During this time, she has worked collaboratively with employee unions and associations as well as universities to partner with them in providing educational services to Agency employees.  Additionally, she created and administered an assessment center for leadership development.  She spoke at a number of industry meetings about improving workforce training for government and industry employees, including an international meeting in Beijing, China.  Dr. Kelly also established the Small Plant Help Desk to respond to questions small meat and poultry manufacturers about providing updated training to employees on food safety policies. 

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlighted the FSIS outreach program serving small and very small plants as unique in providing helpful resources and assistance to small businesses (GAO report 07-714).  FSIS training programs contributed to the Agency winning the 2007 President's Quality Award for the Strategic Management of Human Capital.


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