Department of Energy:

Status of DOE's Efforts to Improve Training

RCED-97-178R: Published: Jun 27, 1997. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the status of: (1) the Department of Energy's (DOE) efforts to improve its training program; and (2) activities listed in the most recent version of DOE's strategic training implementation plan and the extent to which DOE has met the performance goals associated with the plan.

GAO noted that: (1) since the plan's initial issuance, DOE has: (a) established a DOE-wide training structure framework; (b) collected baseline training cost data; and (c) created DOE's training home page and bulletin board on the Internet; (2) nevertheless, DOE has been slow to implement many of the activities outlined in the strategic plan; (3) for instance, the plan specified that a Training and Development Management Council should be established and conduct its first meeting by September 1995; (4) the Council has the overall responsibility for overseeing the efforts to improve DOE's training program; (5) DOE's records show that the Council did not conduct its first meeting until July 1996, or 10 months later than planned; (6) according to DOE officials, higher-priority work prevented the Department from convening the Council sooner; (7) in addition, when the strategic plan was initially issued, DOE intended to implement all of the activities specified by December 1996; (8) however, as of April 30, 1997, DOE indicated that a majority of the activities were still in process and had completion dates extending to the end of calendar year 1998; (9) DOE has also determined that several activities are no longer applicable; (10) for example, DOE had intended to standardize all training that has application throughout the Department; (11) according to the strategic training plan, DOE offices were independently developing such training, which was resulting in a waste of resources and nonstandardized training within DOE; (12) Department officials, however, have determined that the standardization of all training that has application throughout DOE is too comprehensive in scope and needs to be addressed through a step-by-step approach; (13) therefore, DOE is considering deleting this activity from the strategic training plan; (13) similarly, DOE intends to delete a number of other activities related to the standardization of training; (14) finally, DOE has largely not met the specific performance goals established for the strategic plan; and (15) those goals consisted of: (a) a 50-percent reduction by March 1997 in the number of duplicate training courses offered by DOE and its contractors; (b) having its pilot Center of Excellence rated successful by more than half of its customers; and (c) a 15-percent reduction in DOE's and its contractors' training expenditures in fiscal year 1997.

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