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New development program bridges generational gap
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There's more to being a golf pro than helping golfers work on their swing. The many roles of a Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of America member ultimately are geared at generating revenue.A PGA member manages the pro shop and the salespeople who run it, works with groundskeepers and maintenance staff, produces daily reports on sales and course use, teaches people to play the game, and oversees tournaments and other events.Each of the more than 28,000 male and female professionals who make up the self-described "world's largest working sports organization" is required to maintain a full-time job in one of four PGA career paths and to keep current in professional development requirements. The PGA of America has long offered certification and career paths, and it has partnered with universities since 1975 to offer an accredited golf management program. Through the university program, students earn degrees in marketing, business administration, hospitality administration, recreation and park management.However, a drop in the number of people who golf prompted the PGA of America recently to design "an action plan for growth," according to a Skillsoft case study of the PGA of America. Skillsoft, based in Nashua, N.H., is an educational technology company that produces learning management system software and content."The glaring challenge standing in the way of delivering a training initiative was a very real generational gap," Skillsoft noted. "New members are roughly 30 years old when they join, with an average member age of 45 years. This means there is about a 50/50 split in membership, with half being more 'tradition' oriented and the other half being more digitally-focused."With employees from four generations in the workplace, 14,000 of whom are under age 50, "We've had to be pretty clever in how to keep them [all] engaged," said Dawes Marlatt, senior director of education and employment at the PGA of America.[SHRM members-only toolkit: Coaching in a Business Environment]The 101-year-old organization wanted training that engaged the younger generations it sought to attract. It also needed to get its older members to share their institutional knowledge and experience in a way that did not cause them to fear they would lose their jobs to younger colleagues. Skillsoft worked with PGA of America to create a learning and development program—Certified Professional Program (CPP) 2.0—whose content is customized to different career paths and delivered through interactive online courses. Veteran members and a "who's who" of industry professionals validated the content and are championing the training. CPP 2.0 includes e-learning; PGA Connect, an online platform for members to ask each other questions and seek advice; research analytics to track learning metrics, and computer-based testing, according to Skillsoft.There are 17 custom courses for apprentice training—although the PGA of America is moving away from the term "apprentice"—and 26 courses for member training. Serving as a registered apprentice and completing the PGA Professional Golf Management Program are the first steps to becoming a PGA member.
CPP 2.0, introduced in 2016, ties its courses to four different certifications:
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