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Using targeted training programs to deliver on mission

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We all know the government enjoys a good performance measure. For all the things we attempt to measure, training and development programs often get short shrift. They require resources to stand up, commitment from both the trainers and the trainees, and represent a long-term investment with seemingly uncertain outcomes. But employee satisfaction often hinges on development plans, and mission efficacy requires people capable of carrying it out.  

Combining staff development and performance measurement, offers an excellent case study that looks at the serious approach the Social Security Administration (SSA) took to the development of its program managers.

Following an April 2007 memo from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) that urged agencies to offer formal program management training, SSA developed an internal management certification program. 

According to the report, “SSA recognized the benefits of having certified PMs and embarked on a formalized program to obtain professional project management certifications for its employees managing large-scale IT programs.” They set educational requirements, developed certification training packages and ensured that on-going training requirements were met. 

The end result? By the end of Fiscal Year 2010, SSA had 25 employees certified FAC-P/PMs, 41 certified PMP, and an additional 20 pending FAC-P/PM certification. By creating a formalized in-house training program, SSA significantly increased the measurable proficiency of its program managers. 

What kinds of training does your agency offer? Do you take advantage of it? Or, taken the other way, what kind of training SHOULD your agency be offering?

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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