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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 14, 1999

October 14, 1999



SUBJECT:          Individual Training Accounts for Federal

Thank you for forwarding the options and recommendations of the Task Force on Federal Training Technology on establishing individual training accounts (ITAs) for Federal employees.

Your report provides a thoughtful and thorough review of the ways ITAs may be used to improve the quality of training available to Federal workers. The skills needed by Federal workers, the technologies available for training, and the institutions capable of delivering high-quality training are all changing rapidly. Individual employees may be in the best position to discover opportunities in this fast changing market; ITAs can give them needed flexibility.

Improving the efficiency and quality of Federal Government services in the years ahead will require educated workers to fill new jobs and allow incumbent workers to continuously upgrade their knowledge and skill base. We have an obliga-tion to explore the use of new technologies to provide cost-effective, high-quality, and accessible training to ensure that we provide the kind of working environment that attracts and retains out---standing working men and women.

After reviewing your report, it is clear that ITAs merit further exploration because of their potential for improving Federal training. The Task Force points out that while a number of private firms, State governments, and foreign governments are currently implementing ITAs, the programs are not fully tested. I support the Task Force recommendation that Federal agencies should begin a series of pilot projects and develop tools for evaluating their success. I therefore direct that OPM work with the Task Force to develop guidance for agencies to use in developing and evaluating ITA pilot projects.

I understand that the Task Force also is making steady progress in developing recommendations for Federal agencies to make effective use of technology to improve training opportunities. I look forward to reviewing the final Task Force report and learning more about the development of the demonstrations of advanced learning technologies being proposed by the Executive departments. Particularly valuable are the Task Force's recommendations regarding how agencies can use their combined procurement power to stimulate development of high-quality training technologies conforming to standards used in commercial and university instruction. Your work will serve not only to strengthen the Federal workforce and ensure that the American taxpayers receive the best service possible, but can also accelerate the development of technologies useful in schools and companies throughout the Nation.

I appreciate your leadership, the commitment of the Task Force, and the dedicated service of your staff, particularly Emzell Blanton, the Executive Director of the Task Force, in ensuring the success of this important effort.


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