OPM Issues Guidance On IT Training

OPM issues guidance on IT training.

Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James recently issued a memorandum to federal chief human capital officers providing guidance to agencies in creating performance standards for information technology training, as required by the 2002 e-Government Act.

The act requires OPM and the Federal Chief Information Officers council to issue policies to assist agencies in the development of performance standards for IT training programs.

“IT training plays a significant role in creating and maintaining a high-quality work force,” James said. “The federal work force must be able to meet the demands of the 21st century, and effective IT training is a critical component in meeting that challenge.”

Before an agency can develop IT training performance standards, it first must determine organizational and individual training needs. To assist, OPM and the CIO council have developed an online IT work force competency assessment tool that allows agencies to evaluate current skill levels of individuals in their IT work forces, identify critical competency gaps, and link those competency gaps to specific training courses and other learning opportunities as a basis for developing organizational and individual training plans.

Once an agency has determined its specific IT training needs and a strategy to meet them, it must develop agency and program-specific performance standards to measure the effectiveness of that strategy. This is a requirement of the act and ensures that agency IT training efforts are focused squarely on results. To assist agencies with this task, OPM has developed a Guide to Strategically Planning Training and Measuring Results to provide agencies with a common methodology for developing such standards.

The E-Government Act of 2002 also requires each agency include a description of its progress in establishing and implementing IT training programs, to evaluate the effectiveness of agencies’ IT training efforts. OPM, in coordination with the CIO council, will include IT training in its review of overall agency human capital programs and strategies. Additionally, OPM’s Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework already provides general standards for evaluating the effectiveness of agency training efforts, particularly with respect to an agency’s mission-critical occupations.

“Given the importance of IT and a high-performing IT work force to agency missions, OPM will track agency IT training results in the Human Capital scorecard under the Workforce Planning Standards for success,” said James in the memorandum. “Strategically managing human capital in every area is key to the success of the President’s Management Agenda and to ensuring a federal work force prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.”

Agencies should contact their chief human capital officer for additional guidance, or contact Mark Doboga, OPM’s deputy associate director for Talent and Capacity Policy at (202) 606-0388.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47