The shortage of contracting professionals is a federally wide concern. Your agency may need contract specialists; however, you may have unique requirements such as being FAR exempt that you need to research. Entry-level people need mentoring and day-to-day assistance until they gain the experience. You need to determine how you will commit the resources to this effort. Commit the plan to paper. It will ensure that you have reviewed the alternatives and assessed the risks. Get buy-in from key stakeholders. Let everyone know what they are signing up for in the beginning. It will ensure that you are able to provide the advertised aspects of the program. You should define the desired outcome of your program. If you want to have your interns have certain skill competencies at the end of each year, then define this. Let the interns know what your expectations are up front. Both parties should know what the rules are. Everyone wants to know what the expectations are and have a level of comfort with what will happen next. One thing particularly I’m thinking about are rotations. If your program provides rotations to other organizations or divisions, plan it with the leadership and make it happen. You don’t have all the answers so assess the progress and don’t be afraid to tweak the program as needed. You are developing the next generation of contracting professionals. You want to make sure that they are getting the skill competencies that they need to be successful.
The TSA approach was developed because we needed to build our workforce but understood the day-to-day mentoring necessary when bringing in entry level specialists. We obtained buy in from key stakeholders that these individuals would be in a learning mode for 8 months. When your agency is short staffed, it takes a true leadership commitment to allow employees to take part in a program like this. You want to place the resources in the trenches as quick as possible. Taking a step back and providing the basic knowledge necessary to be successful allows them to work more independently and reduces the strain on your senior contracting professionals once transitioned into the operational divisions. You are also providing the skills and the research capabilities to analyze the alternatives to make sound business decisions. We are moving towards a highly trained workforce and developing strategic business advisors.
The pilot group just graduated June 1 st . We will continue to asses their progress throughout the three year program. They still have a lot to learn but have obtained the basic competencies necessary to complete non complex contract actions and research issues to present alternatives to senior contracting professionals.
Here a some of the articles that were written regarding the TSA program.
Four Practical Applications for a Successful Intern Program <ul><li>Step by step procedures for performing a successful knowledge transfer program </li></ul><ul><li>TSA Boot Camp </li></ul><ul><li>The outcome of using the process </li></ul><ul><li>Links to articles regarding the TSA experience </li></ul>
Step by Step Procedures for Successful Intern Program <ul><li>Research your agencies unique needs </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a program plan </li></ul><ul><li>Involve key stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Define success </li></ul><ul><li>Convey expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Do what you say you’re going to do </li></ul><ul><li>Assess progress often </li></ul>
TSA Boot Camp <ul><li>8-month Acquisition Learning Program </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blends Training and On-the-Job Learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Centralizes Mentoring to Ease the Strain on Senior Contract Specialists </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Simulated Acquisition Office Experience </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Combination of Simulated and Real Work Activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Small Group/Individual Execution of Work Requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dedicated Mentors at 5 to 1 Ratio </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creates Risk Free Environment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Develops the Business Advisor Thinking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaches Both the How and Why </li></ul></ul>
Process Outcome <ul><li>18 interns graduated June 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Well trained and have a basic knowledge of contracting </li></ul><ul><li>The ability to hit the ground running </li></ul>
Websites and Articles <ul><li>Excellence in Acquisition Workforce Management Award 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.fai.gov/workforce/recipient.asp </li></ul><ul><li>TSA begins virtual training for contracting officers http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1006/100206k1.htm </li></ul><ul><li>TSA creates acquisition ‘boot camp’ for new recruits </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.federaltimes.com/index.php?S=2174888 </li></ul>