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Interpretation Leadership and Business Skills Training

Preparing Interpretation Leaders for Our Second Century

As the National Park Service moves into its second century, there is urgency for Interpretation staff to have the skills to prioritize and leverage limited resources in order to serve our audiences and communities. Interpretation leaders need to be business savvy and deliberate about choosing actions and initiatives that make sense for park circumstances. Twenty first-century audiences have different needs and expectations and are more diverse, urbanized, tech-savvy, and globalized than ever before.

During FY 16, every Chief of Interpretation in the National Park Service had the opportunity to get training in Interpretation Leadership and Business Skills. All seven regions participated in five regional training course held around the country. Over 400 participants attended workshops in person and over 120 attended the course virtually.

The training events focused on business acumen and 21st Century interpretive skills designed to help staff:

    • Use planning and evaluation tools to examine programming and resource allocation
    • Gather and analyze data on current program outputs
    • Re-prioritize interpretation and education activities to enhance visitor experiences in measurable ways
    • Share lessons learned to reach new audiences
    • Work with and through others by means of strategic agreements and partnerships that augment park operations

Training Resource Tracks for Interpretation Leadership

Each of the courses addressed four main tracks or skills sets. Follow the links below to find videos and resources used during the training and new training resources produced to support on-going learning and implementation:

  • The Case for Change: Why do we need to shift our approach to visitor services and business practices?
  • Audience Centered Experiences: How has Interpretation and Education evolved to meet the needs of 21st Century Audiences and Issues?
  • Business Acumen: How can we plan for measurable results and leverage our resources to best effect?
  • Risk and Resilience: What amount of risk is acceptable and necessary to fail forward?

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