County leaders often face tough budget choices around this time of year. Having to figure out how to do more with less, a county’s line item for professional development and training may be one of the first things to get the axe.

CIS recognizes that many counties have limited resources, but their employees still need training. In response, CIS has provided access to online learning for many years and last month launched a new online Learning Center that makes it easier than ever to take those courses, as well as CIS’ own webinars and trainings. The system is available to all counties that participate in CIS coverage.

“Sending an employee to attend training can take a lot of coordination,” says CIS’ Training Manager Mary Meyer. “Our new Learning Center saves counties money and time by having staff access these important courses from their desks, and at a convenient time for their schedule.”

According to Meyer, the new system is easier to navigate for the end user — and there’s additional new online content that should prove popular. She describes the key advantages of the new system, which include:

  • An intuitive home page that makes it easy to quickly get where you want to go;
  • A modern catalog with fresh new courses;
  • An easier to browse site that’s searchable by category, title or keyword;
  • A quality tutorial video (as well as additional videos and handouts for new users);
  • A mobile app version so courses can be completed by smart phone or tablet; and
  • An easier-to-navigate dashboard for managers and supervisors so they can monitor staff progress on assignments or assign them training directly.

Another new Learning Center feature allows a county to upload special proprietary content for its employees — without making that content accessible to other CIS members.

New Learning Center Features Tips and Tutorials

When a user logs on to the Learning Center for the first time, they’re assigned a short tutorial that provides an overview of the highlights of the site as well as navigation tips.

“We’re recommending that each county’s Entity Administrator — our training contact with the county — explore the system prior to sharing with their managers and supervisors,” says Meyer. “We want the entity admins to be very familiar with the system and courses before assigning training to their entire staff.”

Meyer adds that to help successfully launch the new system, she and her team have planned hands-on workshop sessions as part of the CIS Annual Conference in Salem later this month (register at At the conference, entity administrators and domain administrators can sign up for in-person or web-meeting demonstrations.

For those unable to attend conference, or who wish to receive more tutorials and advanced trainings, the CIS team will hold special learning sessions this spring to answer questions or assist in adding and/or editing users. The team can also help counties set up courses and create assignments.

Online Training has been a Longstanding Tool at CIS

CIS’ Administrative Officer Steve Norman says that CIS has a long history of online training.

“We’ve offered online learning since 2010 and it’s been an important tool for counties, small and large,” he says.

Norman suggests that each administrator start the process with a small pilot group.

“The best approach is to have your entity admins try out one or two courses and see how the process works,” he says. “From notifications through course completion, you’ll find this approach will help you better support your employees — especially when they have detail questions.”

Preserving professional development and training funds for staff is an important goal. But, if belt tightening must happen, it’s good to know that counties can still provide professional development for staff through CIS’ new Learning Center. It is a valuable, convenient and free resource for important trainings, courses and webinars.

How Do Members Gain Access?

Email Requirements for CIS’ New Learning Center

To navigate the Learning Center, each user must have a unique and active email assigned to them. For those employees who don’t have a work email address (or who share an email address), they’ll need to create one to receive notifications from the new system.

Counties that don’t have an email system can create individual email addresses through free email services such as or Gmail.

The Getting Started tutorial will help with questions. County entity admins are also encouraged to attend the hands-on workshops at the CIS Annual Conference in Salem. For more information, please contact Mary Meyer at

Contributed by: Bill LaMarche | CIS