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Technical Training and Certification Program

The Technical Training and Certification Program is a collaborative effort between BWSR, MACDE, MASWCD and NRCS designed to develop and maintain a highly trained, technically skilled workforce of natural resource professionals capable of meeting the conservation delivery needs of Minnesota. 

News and Updates

2018 Pilot Technical Training Acceleration Grant

The Technical Training Acceleration Grant is a short-term pilot to accelerate delivery of locally identified training priorities.  Funding priority is given to training topics that are identified as high need either at an area, or state-wide level, especially those topics which will lead to increased or enhanced Job Approval Authority (JAA) for local SWCD and NRCS staff.

See the Apply for BWSR Grants page for the Request for Proposals and Q & A document.

Individual Development Plans

Job Approval Authority Information


The Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), the Minnesota Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Minnesota Association of Conservation District Employees (MADCE), and the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (MASWCD) are committed to providing resources and leadership to achieve program goals. These include:

Through a series of meetings beginning in 2012, BWSR and partnering agencies agreed that the current levels of technical assistance and district capacity are not able to meet existing demands and future expectations.  In 2014 BWSR, MACDE, MAWCD and NRCS signed an MOU establishing an interagency team to develop a comprehensive strategy for joint technical training and certification.  The Technical Training and Certification Strategy for Conservation Delivery in Minnesota was completed in 2015 and establishes a framework for development and implementation of training and certification of conservation professionals.

Strategy for Technical Training and Certification in Minnesota

The purpose of the technical training and certification strategy is to provide a framework for development of training and credentialing for local conservation professionals. Seven strategies were advanced by the partnership to achieve this purpose.

1. Core Competencies – Core competencies form the foundation for all technical services.  Core competency training in Soils, Water Quality and Conservation Planning will be provided to all conservation district employees and NRCS field staff.

2. Priority Resource Concerns and Practices – Priority resource concerns and conservation practices will be identified at the local level.  Requisite technical skills for employees will be identified based on these local priorities.

3. Individual Development Plans – Employees providing technical services create individual development plans based on local priority resource concerns and conservation practices.

4. Training Needs Inventory – An annual technical training needs inventory will identify conservation planning and technical training needs.

5. Training Roles and Responsibilities - NRCS, BWSR, MASWCD, and MACDE will identify the roles of each organization in providing long term support and/or delivery of technical training.  This will ensure that a complete suite of training is predictably and consistently available to meet the training needs identified through the training needs inventory process.

6. Credentialing - The system ensuring that employees providing technical services in Minnesota are qualified to implement conservation practices and activities includes certification, obtaining job approval authority, and/or other means to achieve credentialing.  The current NRCS job/technical approval authority structure may provide guidance and/or is part of the credentialing system for many of these requirements.

7.  Continuing Education and Training – Technical training opportunities are continually evaluated and prioritized so technical staff can maintain and increase technical competency.

Phased Implementation

Technical Training & Certification Program – Anticipated Implementation Schedule

Please note this is a working document and anticipated implementation dates are subject to change.

Click here to access the Phased Implementation Graphic.

For more information about BWSR related training, please visit our training page.

Training Resources

Guiding Principles

Minnesota’s Technical Training and Certification Program was designed to:

1. Integrate into a quality assurance framework for state funded conservation practices

2. Address conservation planning, engineering, and ecological sciences practices for agriculture, forested, and urban lands

3. Coordinate with, but not be duplicative of, nor dependent on, NRCS to meet requirements of both state and federal conservation programs

4. Not preclude private technical assistance when available and cost effective

General Program Information

Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155 | (651) 296-3767 | Fax (651) 297-5615 | TTY (800) 627-3529

An Equal Opportunity Employer

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