Training Shows NITAAC GWACs are Easy to Use
The NITAAC training program is playing an important role in bolstering the knowledge and skills of the federal acquisition workforce, especially as older procurement professionals retire and younger, less experienced people step into the ranks. In addition to showing people how to use NITAAC’s tools and services, the training offers a nuts-and-bolts understanding of government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs) and other current procurement issues. “We can’t educate enough,” said Mary Armstead, NITAAC Program Director. “Our training numbers have increased dramatically over the years, but we still want to educate more people about the utility of these vehicles.”
NITAAC officials said that although GWACs have been around for more than a decade, many acquisition officials are still uncertain how to use them. “We do a lot to educate people about GWACs,” said Robert Coen, NITAAC Deputy Program Director. “Once contracting officials know about GWACs and have used them once, they use them all the time.”
NITAAC offers multiple avenues for federal professionals to receiving training to use the GWACs. These include training at:
• Customer Locations. NITAAC officials will come to agency offices and campuses to train people in sessions that last from one to two hours.
• Webinars. NITAAC officials conduct online training webinars each month.
• NIH Campus. Monthly training seminars held on the NIH campus are open to all federal employees.
• Conferences and Events. NITAAC officials offer training at a number of events held throughout the country.
• Online—coming soon! Federal employees will soon be able to obtain training through a self-paced, self-directed online program.
NITAAC has designed its systems for intuitive use, and federal employees do not need a special “Delegation of Procurement Authority” to use NITAAC GWACs. Training is free, however, and helps customers understand how to best use NITAAC’s systems, tools, and services. Federal employees who complete the training, either in-person or online, will receive two federal Continuous Learning Points.
NITAAC’s training includes an overview of the NITAAC Program, the benefits of using GWACS, information on each of the three contracts, and a live demonstration of NITAAC’s Electronic Government Ordering System (e-GOS) for CIO-SP3 and Request for Quote System for ECS III. After learning first-hand how easy it is to place orders and use the vehicles, contracting officials typically have one main question, said Michelle Street, a NITAAC Program Analyst who oversees the training program. “Many of them ask, ‘Why didn’t I know about this program before?’” she said.
NITAAC officials like to conduct the training at customer sites because it enables more people from an organization’s acquisition team to participate, but they will accommodate the needs of procurement officials and their organizations. “We want our training to be convenient and accessible to as many people as possible,” Street said.