Challenges in Acquisition Training
I ran across this article in the July edition of NCMA Contract Management. It was written by a colleague of mine, Denean Machis. I found that it provided an insightful look at training the acquisition workforce.
While training seems to be an easy target to identify as the cause for acquisition failures, the article suggests another, more systemic reason. I recently wrote a blog expressing some problems I see in the way the government buys training. While certification programs provide foundational knowledge, individuals need to be able to perform the tasks when they are assigned.
Denean provides a compelling case for job-focused training. As a training and performance improvement company with a broad range of courses that can be used for satisfying the continuous learning requirement to maintain certification, we see a large percentage of students who report that the reason they chose our course was to earn continuous learning points. I recognize that choice does not necessarily mean that the course was not linked to the student’s desire to improve their on-the-job performance.
Denean makes the point in the article: “Certification and continuous learning programs aimed at workforce development are not focused on performing the job at hand” and suggests that “A formal, mandatory, funded, job-focused learning program is the solution to improving the acquisition workforce performance on the job.” and “Connecting training to the job at hand will result in greater interest, better comprehension, and increased retention over time.”
I won’t steal any more of Denean’s thunder but recommend you read her article to get a different, persuasive perspective on training for performance improvement.