Management training program aims at fed contractors

Helios HR, a human resources outsourcing and consulting firm, has joined forces with Workforce Learning, a management and leadership instructional company, to create a management and leadership training program designed to help government contractors cope with their workforce challenges.

The six-month tutorial is called the Cohort Learning Program. The first series is scheduled to begin in early December.

Its designers, Helios president Kathy Albarado and Workforce Learning president Alice Waagen, say the program will offer a structured sequence of integrated topics that teach the critical components of effectively managing people and resources.

“We launched this program about a week ago and generated a lot of interest from our client base,” Albarado said, adding that many of the clients are small to midsize government contractors.

Spatial Data Analytics Corp. (Spadac), a geospatial predictive analysis company that provides advanced technologies to government agencies and others, has been a Helios client for a little more than a year. During that time, the company has grown from 35 to 72 employees.

Barry Culman, Spadac’s president and chief operating officer, said Albarado conducts off-site management training sessions for the company about once a month. “We’re doing a career-path exercise because we have a lot of young and smart technical people, and we want to show that we care about them,” he added.

Albarado said she believes most managers are competent at their jobs. “But when it comes to managing a team — and this could be as simple as moving into a [project manager’s] role -- they don’t know what to do with it or even how to communicate with their clients.”

Albarado said clear communication is a problem for many information technology managers.

The Cohort Learning Program consists of monthly half-day workshops. In addition to the training sessions, participants will collaborate on mutual learning techniques and support. And they will receive private coaching sessions between program sessions to address specific, confidential challenges.

She said the program will focus on applications. Participants will have homework assignments, and they will have a peer group after the program is over that is expected to meet on a regular basis.

The ultimate goal, Albarado said, is to create a development and support network that can continue after the program ends.

She said participants will sign a confidentiality agreement at the start of the program so they can freely discuss specific issues and problems. “There won’t be any competitors in the room,” she added. The firms will monitor enrollment and make the names and companies of those who enroll available to others thinking of joining. She said it’s possible that some contractors may buy all the seats for a program.

“So there’s trust in the room,” she added.

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