1482Federal Register / Vol. 64, No. 5 / Friday, January 8, 1999 / Notices
G. Academic Degree and Certificate Training
Trained and educated personnel are a critical resource in an acquisition organization. This demonstration recognizes that training and development programs are essential to improving the performance of individuals in the acquisition workforce, and thereby raising the overall level of performance of the acquisition workforce, and that a well-developed training program is a valuable tool for recruiting and retaining motivated employees. Currently, DAWIA authorizes degree and certificate training for acquisition-coded positions through the year 2001. This demonstration extends that authority for the duration of this demonstration and expands its coverage to the acquisition support positions identified in this demonstration project. It also provides authorization at the local level to administer and pay for these degree and certificate training programs. This authorization will facilitate continuous acquisition of advanced, specialized knowledge essential to the acquisition workforce, and provide a capability to assist in the recruiting and retaining of personnel critical to the present and future requirements of the acquisition workforce. Funding for this training, while potentially available from numerous sources (including DAWIA for employees in acquisition-coded positions), is the responsibility of the participating organization.
Organizations participating in the acquisition demonstration project will have the authority to grant sabbaticals without application to higher levels of authority. These sabbaticals will permit employees to engage in study or work experience that contributes to their development and effectiveness. The sabbatical provides opportunities for employees to acquire knowledge and expertise that cannot be acquired in the standard working environment. These opportunities should result in enhanced employee contribution. The spectrum of available activities under this program is limited only by the constraint that the activity contribute to the organization’s mission and to the employee’s development. The program can be used for training with industry or on-the-job work experience with public, private, or nonprofit organizations. It enables an employee to spend time in an academic or industrial environment or to take advantage of the opportunity to devote full-time effort to technical or managerial research.
The acquisition demonstration project sabbatical program will be available to all demonstration project employees who have seven or more years of Federal service. Each sabbatical will be of three to twelve months’ duration and must result in a product, service, report, or study that will benefit the acquisition community as well as increase the employee’s individual effectiveness. Requests for a sabbatical must be made by the employee through the chain of command to the employee’s installation Executive Director or equivalent, who has final approval authority and who must ensure that the program benefits both the acquisition workforce and the individual employee. Funding for the employee’s salary and other expenses of the sabbatical is the responsibility of the participating organization.
The key to the success or failure of the proposed demonstration project will be the training provided for all involved. This training will provide not only the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out the proposed changes, but will also lead to participant commitment to the program.
Training at the beginning of implementation and throughout the demonstration will be provided to supervisors, employees, and the administrative staff responsible for assisting managers in effecting the changeover and operation of the new system.
The elements to be covered in the orientation portion of this training will include: (1) a description of the personnel system; (2) how employees are converted into and out of the system; (3) the pay adjustment and/or bonus process; (4) the new position requirements document; (5) the new classification system; and (6) the contribution-based compensation and appraisal system.