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Posted by on May 23, 2014

Moving Beyond Just Training: FAC-C Signals Shift to Career Development

CheckboxPreparing the Federal acquisition workforce to achieve agency missions won’t be accomplished by training alone. Effectively developing the workforce involves a more holistic, involved, analytical approach. And contracting professionals should take note: “checking the box” certification won’t cut it. OFPP recently revised FAC-C, and the move marks a significant change in the career development approach for the civilian agency contracting workforce.

The memo calls out a number of development activities, such as rotational assignments, mentoring, association memberships, onboarding programs, and participation in interagency teams to flesh out the experience of acquisition pros. But it also acknowledges the need for contracting professionals to be active participants in both their development and training—performance improvement requires a demonstrated breadth and depth of knowledge and experience to ensure the workforce has the right skill sets.

Civilian agency contracting professionals are going to be expected to demonstrate specific competencies in the classroom, as training increasingly becomes more application- and activity-based. Under the new FAC-C, OFPP has essentially moved civilian acquisition training back into alignment with DoD’s DAWIA curriculum, swapping out all but two courses, adding 100 hours of additional targeted training, and expanding certification requirements beyond 1102s to include all warranted contracting officers regardless of job series. 

Identified competency gaps are being addressed with the inclusion of FAR fundamental and cost and price analysis at Level I, and intermediate cost and price analysis and supply and service contracting at Level II. Level III includes advanced course electives such as Understanding Industry and Acquisition Law. OFPP also emphasizes the importance of continuous learning to “[enhance] the skills of acquisition professionals, afford them opportunities for professional growth, and improve the quality of services rendered.”

Also coming down the pipeline are specialization tracks for contracting professionals, what OFPP is calling “core-plus.” This will likely resemble the IT concentration developed for FAC-PPM, and include concentrations in IT, followed by construction, small business, and supply and service contracting. We expect to hear more from OFPP on these career tracks by the end of the year.

Finally, the memo makes the Federal Acquisition Institute Training Application System (FAITAS) mandatory: all contracting professionals are required to register in the FAITAS. Agencies and individuals alike are to use it to manage and track career development. Which is kind of the point: contracting professionals should be active participants in their career development.

Agencies are being given until October 1 to fully transition over to the new FAC-C, though some have already begun the process.

In case you missed it, here’s our own Acquisition and Contracting Executive Director, Beth Blazek, weighing in on Federal News Radio.

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