Head of the Class: The VA's Solution For Acquisition Talent Shortage - Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)
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Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)


Head of the Class: The VA's Solution For Acquisition Talent Shortage

October 3, 2011

AOL Government Logo

Extracted from the October 3, 2011, issue of Aol Government © External link to a non-government website
Posted by By Judi Hasson

Picture of Lisa Doyle, Chancellor, VA Acquisition Academy-Dedicated to Developing Our Professional Acquisition Workforce

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has found an innovative way to address a shortage of trained acquisition professionals, growing contracting complexities and a need to curb waste, fraud and abuse for itself and other federal agencies.

Since September 2008, the VA has operated its own Acquisition Academy - a school built from the ground up to train a new generation of procurement officers to handle the agency’s $16 billion annual procurement budget.

“We wanted to create learning that improved performance,” Lisa Doyle (pictured above), the academy’s chancellor, told AOL Government.

Praised by those inside the government and the contracting world as a cutting edge facility, the academy is doing something that government is often criticized for lacking: Stepping up to the plate and fixing a problem.

“They very much encourage the students to really aim high.  The philosophy teaches how to be a business advisor and help your agency get a good deal.” — Steve Kelman

It has 16 classrooms in Frederick, Md., and a professional staff providing students with core acquisition competencies, and skills in business, management, communication and customer service.

The academy is not only meeting the needs of the VA, it has attracted students from eight other federal agencies – General Services Administration, the Departments of Transportation, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Homeland Security, Commerce, Defense and Justice.

All these agencies have been reeling from the loss of experienced senior procurement officials and don’t have the resources to develop the proper procurement staff.

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