Education essential to procurement reform

Wednesday - 3/11/2009, 8:09pm EDT

Rick Grimm

Capability just as important as capacity

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By Brian Drew
Internet Editor,
FederalNewsRadio

President Barack Obama has signed off on a measure to change the way the federal government awards work to private contractors. This is going to change how companies do business with government.

Rick Grimm, Chief Executive for the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP), tells FederalNewsRadio that state and local government has been practicing transparency in contracting and competitive bid structures for years

"It's not only capacity to make sure the right number of people to do federal, state and local procurement, but it's also the capability," he says.

Grimm says that there is no college or university that offers classes that specifically train students in the skills that are needed in the public procurement workforce.

We have spent significant resources trying to provide education and training to individuals who are in that public procurement workforce. We have also worked with a professional certification body, so that those standards are accessed, the body of knowledge that you need in order to be a success in this industry... And unfortunately both in the federal and state and local governments those certifications are not necessarily recognized as a requisite for practicing good public procurement policies.

He adds that NIGP is working with their partners to develop the programs for colleges and universities.

Grimm says that the American Bar Association has already published a model procurement code called "The Model Procurement Code for State and Local Governments."

Grimm says that even with proper training before entering the workforce, "it's a life-long journey of learning."

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On the Web:

FederalNewsRadio - No clear path to procurement reform

NIGP - NIGP Code

Amazon - >American Bar Association General Practice Section Federal Procurement Regulations Policy Practice and Procedures

Google Books - Government Contract Law: The Deskbook for Procurement Professionals

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