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Vern Edwards

(1) More and (2) Better Training?

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One problem is that we don't make the necessary distinction between education and training. Education is conceptual and theoretical. Training is practical and how-to. Education can be done centrally -- in classrooms and even online. It can even be achieved to some degree by a person with a book and a quiet place to read. Training must be done locally -- in the office, on the job, and hands-on.

For example, education can teach you what value is, what proposal evaluation is, what an evaluation factor is, and the universal principles of sound proposal evaluation practice. It can show you examples of good and bad practice. Armed with that knowledge, you can design your own source selections. OJT teaches you which factors, methods of evaluation, and source selection procedures to use where you work now.

DAU, FAI, and the commercial training companies can teach you concepts and principles and provide you with examples that are designed to show you those concepts and principles in action, but they cannot teach you how to conduct a source selection where you work now, because every office is unavoidably, even necessarily, somewhat unique in that regard. That is one reason why so much "training" has been inadequate.

The failure of DAU, FAI, and their teachers and students to understand the difference between education and training has caused general confusion and widespread frustration. Managers and workers can avoid confusion and frustration by understanding what's wrong with today's "training" and taking measures of their own. Every manager and supervisor worth his or her salt knows that one of their tasks is training their people. Soldiers and Marines learn combat tactics in training schools. Their sergeants teach them how to fight.

I wish that was true, but that hasn't been the case where I am. I came in under FCIP and had to go through annual rotations (4 managers in 5 years). Only one manager actually had the patience to train me in anything related to acquisitions.. I'm sure all my managers had the knowledge and experience, but they considered training to be a chore. On a related note, we have far too many people in managerial positions who have absolutely no business managing people. If you want to be a GS 14 or 15 and manage people, you better be all in.

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I agree with a lot of things said in the past two pages, however, I think better training might be more effective than more people.

You can throw as many people and great training into the workforce, but if you can't eliminated the dead weight at the top of the flagpole, then what is the point?

I came into the 1102 world via an intern program- rotated throughout DoD and Civilian agencies. I took tons of training and even took Vern's FAR boot camp. The problem that I faced was the resistance/lack of training from the dead weight at the top of the flag pole when I tried to bring my training back and implement it into what I was doing. While at DoD I had a supervisor, whom worked DoD all 20+ years of their 1102 career, tell me that we don't need to follow the DFARs, or place any DFARs clauses into our DoD contracts.......... Now what do you think happened to all that training for someone fresh to the 1102 career field with a supervisor like that? I will say that I put up a good fight on that particular issue, but at the end of the day, he was my supervisor and he was signing the contracts. The sad thing, there were 4 other interns he supervised.

While still being relatively an infant in this career, even though I'm now a KO, this is something that I face every day. The "dead weight" is what is killing this career field and any training improvements thrown at it. Of all the DAU/MCI/FAI etc acquisition classes I have taken, several times the folks that were the most out of touch with the what was being taught was the 14s/15s KOs and 1102 Supervisors. In the private industry, these people would be fired on the spot.

So to answer one of Vern's questions - "If we need more or better training, and if we need more people, do we need more people because the current workforce is not sufficiently well trained?"

In my own opinion, I think the fresh workforce, between 3-5 years of experience, has had good training (Not Great). DAU has come a long way in improving it's training and make it more meaningful. I went and took CON 090 (After taking FAR Bootcamp) and thought the revamped training was out of this world. As an 1102, I believe it's pertinent for all 1102s to go back and take Acq specific training even if it means taking 4 weeks for CON 090. I was worth it's weight in gold.

How do we get more meaningful training? Further separate the training into specific areas that 1102s deal with...e Get away from training on large weapon systems (Go Fire Fox!), the majority of us 1102s deal with- SAP buys, Services buys, IT buys, etc. Not once I have purchased or done any R&D contracting on a attack drone.

I also think it's time to readdress how training is implemented throughout the entire workforce. I think 1102s should have to take a test every couple years to maintain their certification, simply taking continuing learning courses to stay certified is a joke especially since I can go take a class on cutting grass and apply it to my CLCs. - This would be one way to cut the dead weight.

Just my two cents.......

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