A Case for Enterprise Learning Solutions
Among the challenges that agencies face in meeting the reskilling and upskilling needs of the Federal workforce is the disconnect between the need for learning and development solutions and how learning is typically procured in the Federal marketplace to address those needs.
Broad and diverse career reskilling/upskilling needs cannot be met by procuring a disparate set of training events, resources, and point-solutions – yet that is all-too-often how training is procured and delivered across the Federal Government today.
According to data from USASpending.gov, in 2018, more than $3 billion Federal dollars were obligated to more than 2,200 different companies all within the Professional Management and Development NAICS Code category. Assuming there are approximately two million Federal Civilian Employees, this amounts to approximately $1,500 per employee for professional management and development training. Based on our own insights, we know that these numbers do not include all training purchased either via contracts or the simplified SF-182; nor the micro-purchase process or training developed and delivered under other NAICS codes. So in actuality – the expenditure on professional management and development training is much higher.
These facts and figures yield a number of questions about the Federal Government’s approach to training procurement:
- What do we know about the return on investment for that spend?
- How does it help employees to support the mission of their agencies?
- Critically, how can that spend be better allocated to help meet the reskilling and upskilling requirements for the Federal workforce?
While those are bold, open-ended questions with no single answer, one recommendation that would provide significant and lasting value is simply to approach learning with the same enterprise view you approach other business-critical applications…in a nutshell: buy smarter.
Significant efficiencies and value can be gained from Federal agencies evaluating their learning investments and putting enterprise contracts in place, including broad, cross-agency, cross-occupational learning solutions that are not siloed by training topics.
We believe there is a need in the Federal contracting landscape for enterprise learning contracts that allows agencies to purchase a diverse range of commercial and configured/tailored learning solutions across modalities and across training topic areas. Even the Best-in-Class, Category Management Human Capital and Training Contracts, like the GSA/OPM HCaTs vehicle, was designed as a services/labor hour contract – not to expedite and streamline the purchase of commercial learning solutions (e.g. eLearning, instructor-led training (ILT), blended, and virtual ILT).
To best meet the PMA’s reskilling and upskilling requirements for your workforce, consider shifting your perspective to view commercial training as a strategic investment. I’m confident that you’ll quickly realize the benefits of establishing contract vehicles to support your agency’s procurement needs! Just imagine…increased efficiency in the procurement process and solutions to meet the diverse professional development needs of your agency through customization. I’ll leave you with two words to describe your perspective shift. Win-win scenario!
Kevin Duffer is the Vice President of Sales and Business Development for Management Concepts, heading up the sales organization as well as the capture and proposal development efforts. He has extensive experience in the learning, organizational/talent development, and information technology fields in both public and private sectors and has 27 years of service with the United States Navy.