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Found 7 results

  1. I'm drafting some thoughts/recommendations on improving training for the contracting workforce and I'd like to solicit input from those of you who frequent these forums. Specifically, I'd like to know what each of you think are the "breakdown activities" for our workforce. "Breakdown activities" are defined as those "tasks that differentiate high and low performers." The term comes from an article in Harvard Business Review that I read last month - for those of you interested in the complete article, you can read it here: To Better Train Workers, Figure Out Where They Struggle. Thanks in advance for any input!
  2. We are looking into the possibility of sponsoring a PWS writing class for our Government customers. Does anyone want to recommend a good contractor? Would DAU come to our location and provide training?
  3. There is a training requirement of $50K that will be attended by 10 Government employees from various offices. My argument is that the requirement is each individual person attending this class, with a separate SF182. The micro-purchase threshold for training is $25K. If the class is being split into multiple purchases because the class is the requirement I would say that is a split, but my assertion is that the requirement is each individual SF-182 and that 10 credit card swipes of $2,500 is not splitting the purchase and should be acceptable. Please give me your thoughts.
  4. I would like your opinions to brainstorm ways that acquisition-related training can be improved. A few months ago, Jamaal had created a post concerning improvements to the acquisition systems; one of those items was training. I believe that improving training is an attainable opportunity this year. It is unlikely that we will see an overhaul of acquisition training system, but there are smaller changes that I think could enhance the major goals of training: 1) improving job performance; 2) measuring effectiveness; 3) determining future training needs. I recently took a training course from an FAI-approved and DAU-certified Vendor for continuous learning points (CLPs) towards renewal of my FAC-C certification. The material was of decent quality; the instructor was knowledgeable; on paper, the students did great, since everyone received 100% on the test. The hidden academic integrity issues, however, hindered students’ ability to truly learn the material and reduced the importance of classes to merely checking off a box. To get the discussion started, here are a few solutions that I think could improve federal acquisition training (note that the problems apply towards both private and Government training providers): 1) Solution: Test answers closely guarded and pre-release harshly punished. Issue: Everyone must pass mentality. In nearly every FAI-approved training class, the instructor either specifically identified which questions would be on the test, or let us know to “highlight” a specific area in the text. In any other setting, this would be an academic integrity violation, with the professor being fired and students having to retake the test. In the Government academia, however, both the agencies and training provider have a mutual interest in ensuring everyone passes. To resolve this issue, FAI should suspend or debar training providers that release test questions or identify answers with an intent to violate the integrity of the test. Students that received training certification from a class in such an instance should be required to retake the class. 2) Solution: Closed book tests Issue: Open books as a crutch during testing Acquisition-related courses routinely allow students to use their notes and book during the test. Open book exams, especially combined with #1 above, teach students how to effectively find the correct page, and not employ deep knowledge. The open book presents a crutch for the student so that they do not need to memorize content. By not memorizing content, it reduces that student’s chance to retain the information after class, and does not reflect knowledge of material during test time. All classes should have closed book tests to measure knowledge. By having all tests as closed book, you force students to study and learn the training material and better apply that material on the job. 3) Solution: Training lasting the whole 8-hour day. Issue: Class ending early, but still providing the full CLPs All acquisition classes in the FAI/DAU framework include a number of CLPs. Those CLPs represent one hour of training. Training providers routinely let students out early on the last day, and sometimes on normal training days. One time, I was released from training at 11 a.m. while in a class that was supposed to end at 4 p.m. Students being released from training early is paramount to theft of taxpayer dollars. The agency paid for 40 hours of training but received only 34-36 hours. For any normal contract, you would send a show cause letter for why the Contractor failed to deliver as obligated. Further, it robs students of the opportunity to learn; during that four hours or more, the instructor could have provided additional instruction or a group activity to further hone the student’s knowledge. All classes should be the duration of their advertised CLPs or the training provider should provide a partial refund. Classes that were not of the duration of DAU/FAI-approved classes should not count towards certification. 4) Solution: Expanded test and individual scorecards after class. Issue: Training providers do not provide students and agencies with feedback for individual improvement. Currently, students receive one or two tests, usually ranging from 25 to 50 questions each, respectively. Standard DAU/FAI policy is to receive an 80-percent score on those tests, or the student is required to retake the incorrect portion of the test. Hardly anyone fails these tests (namely because of the issues in #1 and 2). Afterwards, the student received his or her percentage score. This score is meaningless to the student and the agency because it does not identify areas for improvement. Instead, tests questions should relate to specific categories, and results for those categories should be relayed back to those students with recommended additional training that could help enhance knowledge and improve effectiveness. Supervisors could use this information to target on-the-job training for employees. Please let me know what ideas you have to improve training.
  5. This may be a question for my specific organization, but I'll see if any of you will be able to answer. I'm converting to a full-time Contract Specialist position in a couple of weeks. I started as a co-op in mid-June of 2011. Here are my questions: 1) Am I allowed to take DAWIA training immediately (i.e.: CON-090)? I thought I had recieved information stating that you must be an 1102 for at least 1 year before starting the DAWIA training. 2) Would there be value in taking CON-090 as soon as I can (to help with learning the position)? 3) (and this is the main question...) Are you required to sign a contract that says if you don't complete the program, you will be required to reimburse the government for tuition? In other words, if I sign on as a full-time 1102 and then decide mid-way through the 3-year training program that I wanted to switch to a non-1102 position, would I be required to pay tuition back? Thanks for your help!
  6. Question: If a large privately held company that mostly does private construction work but may have a federal government contract or subcontract once in a while (that triggers 3.10 Code of Business Conduct and Training) train all of its employees or just the ones that are working on federal goverment projects. Also, what if the employees are incidental to the project such as a trucker or a janitor. I have reviewed the Code and Federal Sentencing Guidelines but it does not answer the question. I believe that all employees must be trained but I was wondering if there is a FAR or other regulation that says otherwise.
  7. To all you veteran Contract professionals, How long did it take you to feel comfortable with your positions ("comfortable" as in not having any more "I have no idea what I'm doing" moments)? I've been in contracting for 3 months and still feel totally clueless on how to do this job, where to start, and where to even look for answers. Is this really just a learn-as-you-go position? It seems like there should be a significant amount of training, but (aside from DAU, which I am not eligible to take yet) there is none. If so, I'll just keep on trucking but I would really like to educate myself at the least. What are some good resources you all would recommend for a newbie? Thanks in advance for everyone's help!
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