GSA sets its sights on Web-based employee IT training

The General Services Administration is planning a World Wide Web-based information technology training program for agency employees that may eventually be opened up to other agencies, according to Shereen Remez, GSA's chief information officer.

Remez said the courses offered will deal with basic instruction on how to use various applications or programming tools. "We will buy off-the-shelf commercial courses and make them accessible to all of our employees," she said.

Remez said GSA employees will be able to negotiate with their supervisors as to whether they should take training courses during work time. She said all employees will be able to access the courses if they choose to take training classes on their own time.

Remez said she and her staff are still testing the concept; the courses will come online later this year. She said she is taking a C++ programming course on her own to see for herself how the program would work.

Emory Miller, director of information technology professional development at GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy, said the agency needs such a program.

"I see the Clinton administration placing a great deal of emphasis on distance learning and computer-based training," Miller said. "I'm glad that Shereen is taking the lead on providing that to GSA employees."

Miller added that programs such as the one proposed by Remez will not replace more personalized, face-to-face courses, such as those offered through GSA's Trail Boss program for procurement training.

Remez said she has not yet decided whether the training courses will be available on GSA's internal intranet system or through its public Web site, where non-GSA employees will have access. She said it appears likely that at least some courses will be available governmentwide.

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