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A New Breed of Training for the Federal Workforce

Kristoffer Tripplaar

When it comes to training in the federal government, agencies are increasingly challenged to meet technological, budgetary, and employee demands. “Typically there’s an expectation now that you have to be inventive and deliver training in a variety of formats that are more collaborative and social in nature,” said Al Tyree, Director of Business Relations and Learning Solutions at Graduate School USA.

Mr. Tyree joined two other panelists at Excellence in Government 2014 to discuss some of the recent trends and priorities that agencies must look to address in order to modernize their training efforts. 

For instance, it may be more beneficial to stop thinking about workforce development through the lens of training and focus instead on learning. “There’s a real chance to look at training with a new set of eyes and ask a different set of questions than we have in the past,” said Mike Casey, Chief Learning Officer at the General Services Administration. “We need to think about performance and how to improve performance,” he added. 
 
The other panelists echoed Dr. Casey’s comments, stressing the importance of measuring results, rather than having individuals go through a checklist or peruse a “catalog” of potential courses. “We went through a period where 200 employees became project managers and 77% of them never ended up using those skills,” added Patricia Hoban-Moore, Chief Administrative Officer of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “We need to ask ourselves, ‘how much did that cost?’ and ‘what was its value?’”

Finally, the panelists urged attendees to consider how to create a learning environment that includes coaching, mentoring, teamwork opportunities, and the ever-important buy-in from leadership. 

“Most of the problems we are trying to fix are people problems -- and technology cannot necessarily solve them for us, but they can help us with measuring and determining skills,” said Dr. Casey. 

-Mark Lee, Research Analyst

For more from 2014 Excellence in Government, check out GBC’s EIG2014 recap series.

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