USGS to track training via Web
- By Doug Brown
- Jul 25, 1999
To better organize employee training records and to make signing up for classes easier, the U.S. Geological Survey plans to develop a World Wide Web-based system that would track training for its 12,000 employees.
Virginia Miles, an ethics program officer in charge of training for USGS, said the system would replace paperwork-heavy procedures. The current process requires employees to fill out forms that are then entered into an electronic system that tracks training costs and other data but does not organize the information into a useful database.
An agency spokeswoman said the current system is "an archaic thing," ripe for modernization. "You fill these paper copies out, but [the system] never linked to a database," she said. "So you had to fill it out over and over again."
When the new system is up and running, employees will use it to quickly apply for permission to take classes. When they are finished taking a class, they also will be able to write comments into the system about whether the training was successful.
The system will give USGS managers much more information about training trends and costs, from the amount vendors charge for classes to how much the agency spends on travel and food.
"One of our strategic goals is to provide a certain level of training, and managers want to know, 'What are we spending?' " Miles said. "There has been a big concern about how to capture the costs of training."
The system also will help the agency determine what training works and what does not.
The agency has looked at other federal agencies for a similar system, Miles said, but with no luck. Consequently, USGS is conducting a market survey "to find out if there is anything out there," she said.
The agency spokeswoman said officials there do not know how much the system will cost, but she guessed it would not cost more than $300,000. She said officials are waiting for vendor bids before they decide whether to build part of the system in-house or to outsource the whole project.
The agency is accepting proposals for the new system until July 29. Miles said the agency expects to have the system in place by next fall.
She said USGS ultimately would like to be able to conduct all training business, whether it be between the agency and employees or the agency and vendors, through computers.
Miles was not sure how many employees take training classes each year - a consequence of the inadequate system - but she guessed that about 70 percent of USGS employees take some sort of coursework in a given year. Many employees take several classes a year, she said.