A special internship to prepare newly-returned Veterans to become federal contracting specialists was launched recently at the Acquisitions Academy of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Frederick, Md.
"I'm pleased to welcome our new interns to the VA family," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki, who gave the keynote address Jan. 19. "These Veterans know the importance of integrity, and have learned to work together in diverse teams to accomplish difficult objectives. Those are skills we value in our professional acquisition corps."
Called "Warriors to Workforce," the internship is a three-year program. Participants will earn the 24 educational credits in business required to become contracting professionals. The program includes courses in leadership, technical acquisition training and on-the-job experience.
"This program is possible because of VA's steadfast commitment to Veteran employment," said Lisa Doyle, chancellor of the VA Acquisition Academy. "These Veterans have served and sacrificed, and it is our turn to give back by making sure they have gainful employment when they return. We hope this program will serve as a model for other federal agencies and private organizations."
At graduation, participants will have taken the required coursework to achieve a Federal Acquisitions Certification in Contracting, which is recognized throughout the federal sector as evidence of solid education in the career field. Successful graduates will be eligible for contract specialist positions at the GS-11 level.
In the past two years, the government's contracting force has shrunk, although the volume and complexity of contracts has increased. VA opened its Acquisitions Academy in September 2008 in response to the growing shortage of contracting professionals, both for VA and other federal agencies.
Twenty-three Veterans are enrolled in the inaugural class of the "Warriors to Workforce" internship. Between them, they have seven Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars and over 170 years of military experience.
More information about VA's Acquisitions Academy is available on the Internet at www.acquisitionacademy.va.gov.