Obama to propose employee training improvements in 2015 budget

Monday - 3/3/2014, 4:31am EST

President Barack Obama will attempt to start making up for three years of neglecting how federal employees are trained.

The President will include in his fiscal 2015 budget request to Congress Tuesday proposals to improve employee training, said Katherine Archuleta, the director of the Office of Personnel Management.

"Federal employees must see a clear career path, and we must make sure [we're] providing training, mentoring and processes in place to support their career development," Archuleta said Friday at a luncheon during the National Treasury Employees Union legislative conference in Washington. "The President's budget proposal will include measures to improve federal employee training and support an exchange of training ideas across government, part of the conversation that [NTEU President] Colleen [Kelley] and other labor representatives are going to be having in the Labor Management Council. We need to learn from one another about what works. We need to be able to talk about our successes."

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta speaks at the National Treasury Employees Union legislative conference in Washington Friday. (Photo: National Treasury Employees Union/Facebook)

Archuleta said she didn't know the details of the proposals that are expected in the budget, which the White House is expected to send to Congress Tuesday.

"One of the roles of OPM is to assist the federal agencies to develop their federal training and career development opportunities," she said. "We are really focused on that. I'm meeting with each of the cabinet secretaries to talk about how OPM can help them get that done, and [we've had] a tremendous interest in response by the cabinet secretaries and agency heads."

Archuleta said she didn't have an idea of how much agencies lost in their training budgets over the last three years. But the Office of Management and Budget asked agencies in 2012 and 2013 to scrub their budgets for any unnecessary travel and training costs.

"We are working very hard within OPM to make sure we have the resources available and creating the opportunities for agencies to work with us on the training," she said. "I'm focused on how within OPM we offer the most support in their training and career development needs."

Archuleta said in January she's been meeting with the Department of Labor and the General Services Administration about providing better HR services to other agencies.

One approach to improve employee training that Archuleta did mention Friday was through the Chief Human Capital Officers Council.

"I have asked our CHCO Council to meet with the National Council on federal Labor Management Relations to see how we can improve employee relations across government," she said. "I am focused on how we take the talent, the experience, the wisdom of our employees and build upon it."

Over the last five years, OPM has tried to make training for employees easier, or at least more accessible. The CHCO Council launched HR University in February 2011 and expanded it over the last three years.

OPM recently canceled a $2 billion training contract called Customized Human Resources Solutions Services 15 months after accepting vendor bids. The cancellation of the recompete to Training and Management Assistance (TMA) contract means OPM is reconsidering governmentwide needs and how OPM can best meet those needs.

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