Government Elearning! Magazine

FALL 2016

Elearning! Magazine: Building Smarter Companies via Learning & Workplace Technologies.

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Page 26 of 52

26 Fall 2016 Government Elearning! Learning! 100 100 The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is responsible for providing fed- eral benefits to more than 23.4 million veterans and their families. The VA Acquisition Academy (VAAA) trains employees who manage more than $17 billion to ensure it efficiently and ef- fectively provides the services to U.S. veterans. An integrated competency- based training curriculum is offered to certify this team. The VAAA's fun- damental learning strategy reflects a commitment to stakeholder engage- ment and value measurement method- ologies ensuring that all business re- sults support the VA major initiatives. In 2011, there were approximately one million unemployed veterans and the unemployment rate for post-9/11 wounded veterans ages 18-34 was, and still is, significantly higher than the rest of the veteran and civilian popu- lation. Therefore, the VA developed a program that was designed to ad- dress both needs by training post-9/11 wounded veterans whose careers were cut short due to a service connected disability as contract specialists. This undertaking, The Warriors to Work- force (W2W) Program, supports the VAAA's mission to support the Secre- tary's commitment to Veteran employ- ment and succession planning for the acquisition workforce. W2W also sup- ports the President's Executive Order 13518 to do everything in our power to assist veterans in re-entering civilian life and finding employment. W2W is a one-year transition pro- gram at VAAA that offers Veterans an opportunity to build a new career in the federal government by applying their military experiences and skills to the acquisition field. e program focuses on transi- tional support, mentoring, professional development, and foundational career training activities to equip wounded veterans with skills and experiences that allow them to serve a new mission as federal civil ser- vants. Aer completing the W2W Program, individuals advance to existing entry- level internship programs to complete their transition to a professional career. W2W participants have successfully transitioned into careers as both contract specialists and project managers through two programs: the two-year Acquisition Intern Program (AIP) and the Project Manager Fel- lows (PMF) Program. Since W2W is designed as a feeder program for vari- ous professional track programs, the transition year can be customized and paired for transition into other career development programs as well. Interns are hired as grade level five federal government employees. e W2W curriculum includes four main components; Business Education, Professional Development, Mission Ser- vice, and Peak Performance Training. e Business Education (BE) compo- nent provides the necessary knowledge and college credits to meet the positive education requirements to enter the contract specialist or PM career fields. e BE component can be customized for other career fields. To date, the W2W program has hired 93 service-disabled Veterans. Among three cohorts 96 percent (89) completed the program and 24 Veterans are cur- rently active in the program. Two addi- tional cohorts began in February 2016. Of those W2W interns who graduated from AIP and PMF, 100 percent were placed as full time government employ- ees. So far, three other government agencies (OGAs) have par- ticipated in the W2W Program and hired and placed ten W2W interns. e W2W program consistently validates effectiveness, incorporates lessons learned, and moni- tors 28 key program metrics. W2W suc- cesses include: Average college course GPA of 3.5 out of 4.0; Perfor- mance rating of 4.5/5.0 given by supervisors during training rotations; more than 20 W2W interns will have college degrees by December 2016; peak performance training has re- sulted in 165 percent average improve- ment in attention, 122 percent average brain speed improvement for working memory, 139 percent average improve- ment on short term memory recall and 82 percent average improvement in problem-solving. To learn more about the W2W program, visit http://www. ternship/w2wProgram.asp. e VA Acquisition Academy is a six- time Learning! 100 award winner. HEAR FROM THE WINNER: Veteran's Affairs Acquisition Academy Launches Warrior to Work Initiative Pictured: Stephanie Belella, Acquisition Internship School Program AREA OF EXCELLENCE C U LT U R E

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