Before coming to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), Laura Gallagher worked on farms and with community gardening organizations in the Midwest and Northeast providing training and education. Now Laura helps NOP manage the Organic Integrity Learning Center (OILC) and the Human Capital Capacity Building Initiative to help build the future of the organic workforce.
The Learning Center is free, open to all, and offers courses on critical organic oversight skills. More than 5,850 people have signed up and taken one or more of the 22 full-length courses and eight microlearning courses available.
The microlearning courses are new, and Laura highlighted these bite-sized courses as especially helpful for busy certifiers and inspectors, saying: “We designed microlearning for quick, on-the-go training that can cover key aspects of a topic in about 10 to 15 minutes.” Certifiers and inspectors can also use microlearning to supplement formal training, as a resource for new staff and as a refresher on NOP processes and oversight tools.
Laura says, “There are more coming. Any time our accreditation managers get frequent questions on a particular part of the organic regulations or certifiers are unsure about how to follow a process, that topic is added to the microlearning agenda.”
Like a lot of the NOP team, Laura has a passion for growing things and sharing the results. Outside of work, she said, “I am always looking for new ways to eat the abundant produce from my garden and local farms!”