OPM adds fee-for-service online courses

The Office of Personnel Management yesterday introduced a fee-for-service component to the government's online learning portal, at www.golearn.gov.

While details still are being worked out, agency employees will be offered more than 2,100 courses on topics such as data and network defenses, project management, knowledge management, and other basic and advanced IT courses.

OPM, which contracted with Karta Technologies Inc. of San Antonio, Netg of Naperville, Ill., and SkillSoft of Nashua, N.H., for the courses, will charge agencies between $33 and $145 per employee for the training classes.

This addition was part of the second iteration of OPM's E-Learning e-government project, one of five Quicksilver initiatives the agency manages.

E-Learning project director Mike Fitzgerald said OPM would enter service agreements with agencies to provide fee-for-service courses. The total cost would be based on the number of employees the agency wants to offer the courses to, Fitzgerald said.

Mark Forman, the Office of Management and Budget's associate director for IT and e-government, said OMB would direct agencies to move their online learning systems to GoLearn.gov.

Forman said at least 10 agencies submitted a total of $50 million worth of funding requests for the fiscal 2004 budget that GoLearn could replace.

'The cost of GoLearn is 10 percent less than what everyone else budgeted for fiscal 2004,' Forman said. 'OMB is working with OPM to refine the migration strategy.'

In addition to the fee-for-service element, OPM expanded the GoLearn.gov portal to include online courses for the Federal Executive Institute and the Management Development Centers and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The law enforcement training center is the beginning of entire area just for homeland security training courses, Forman said.

OPM in June also will add the CIO Council's Road Map project to the GoLearn portal, which will let IT employees plan their training needs to reach career goals.

'We are not at the point where we are seeing a cascade of results from our e-government work,' said OPM e-government director Norm Enger. 'This will save the government $1.19 billion over the next 10 years in cost avoidance of travel and in building or maintaining online learning systems.'


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