Helping VA Train its IT and HR Employees and Increasing Section 508 Access
Human Capital Management

Helping VA Train its IT and HR Employees and Increasing Section 508 Access

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of Information and Technology (OI&T) and Office of Human Resources and Administration (HR&A)

Our Challenge

VA’s IT Workforce Development office (ITWD) provides IT professional development training to the OI&T workforce at VA, including HR&A employees within OI&T. First, ITWD needed to improve professional development opportunities for its staff by performing competency mapping. The process of competency mapping matches training sessions to the knowledge levels of different groups of employees, based on the requirements of their roles, their existing knowledge, and their desire to improve upon their existing skills. Second, ITWD needed assistance in ensuring that newly developed courses comply with government guidelines mandating that all course material is accessible to everyone (i.e., Section 508 directives).

Our Strategy

DFC, working with ITWD and our prime contractor, enhanced the professional development opportunities for VA staff by identifying which employees should receive training to either meet requirements or enhance their existing abilities and knowledge. Our Human Capital Management Team reviewed the courses and determined which job roles required what kind of training. Once the courses were mapped, the mapping data were uploaded to the VA Talent Management System, where it is available for employees as they create their individual development plans.

To assist with Section 508 accessibility, DFC worked to ensure that all employees can access all training materials. We made sure that all images, tables, and text were properly labelled, tagged, and provided with alternative text, where available. When the checklist was complete, a compliance expert would run Adobe Acrobat’s built-in accessibility check to make sure that each page could be read in the correct order from top to bottom and left to right.

Our Results

DFC helped develop competency models for a variety of jobs at VA, focusing on both leadership and technical work, in both OI&T and HR&A. We also mapped more than 3,000 learning events (such as courses, trainings, and required readings) across 25 of these models. We then assisted in implementing these models in the two offices by making sure the training activities matched the models. In doing so, we helped increase the proficiency level of VA OI&T and HR&A employees in job-related skills and knowledge, and we supported the success rate of project milestones from less than 30 percent in 2009 to 89 percent in 2011. With regard to handicapped access, we have completed more than 800 instances of Section 508 compliance checks across Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Adobe Acrobat.

With our team’s work to support ITWD, the VA OI&T Chief Learning Office won two Association for Talent Development (ATD) Excellent in Practice Awards in 2016 for “Competency-Based Professional Development for IT Staff” in the Career Development and Managing the Learning Function categories. The ATD Awards Program recognizes exemplary results achieved through practices and solutions for workplace learning and talent development. VA OI&T Chief Learning Office was 1 of 25 selected from over 220 entries.