The Lectern: VA contracting interns - Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)
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Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)


The Lectern: VA contracting interns

November 18, 2008

Federal Computer Week Logo By Steve Kelman

I spoke Monday afternoon with the first group of about 30 or so contracting interns at the brand-new VA Acquisition Academy in Frederick, Maryland.  It was a very pleasant eye-opener: I would recommend it for anybody — especially including congressional staff and those working on the Obama administration transition — that is thinking or making policy about revitalizing our contracting workforce.

To my surprise, for only one intern in the group was this a first job. These are not brand-new college grads. They are a wide range of ages, including many mid-career folks, and most have had significant work experience, in both business and government.  More than half have MBAs, four have law degrees and all but one has a master’s degree of some sort.  About three-quarters are either veterans themselves or have a parent who is a vet.

I was told by Academy leadership that the two primary traits they looked for when interviewing candidates for the job.  First was commitment to the VA’s mission.  Second was an enthusiasm for continuous learning.

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