On Nov 4, GovExec featured an article on SPARC http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?filepath=/dailyfed/1109/11040...
Given the criticality and need for more acquisition resources in government and the need for strategic recruitment, retention and training, I thought I'd provide some highlights from the article. Just as background - if you didn't know already, the federal government spends approximately $530B annually on goods and services. This accounts for millions of transactions ranging from under a hundred dollars to contracts valued in the billions of dollars. Who buys and how they buy couldn't be more important. According to FAI, the federal acquisition workforce is about 91,000 people. OMB has recently addressed the contracting workforce in two memos: July 29, 2009 "Improving Government Acquisition" and again on Oct 27 "Acquisition Workforce Development Strategic Plan for Civilian Agen... . DoD has also issued its own Insourcing Guidance and has stated it intends to bring 20,000 acquisition professionals by 2015.
Here are the highlights of the Strategic Partnership on Acquisition Recruitment Coaltion (SPARC) from the GovExec article:
The SPARC is a coalition of representatives of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, the Chief Acquisition Officers Council, the Federal Acquisition Institute, the Defense Acquisition University, and the National Contract Management Association. Their mission is to identify and recruit new people for the federal acquisition workforce. They will be working with universities to create or expand curriculums focused on federal contracting. "Using the resources of the 140 NCMA chapters nationwide, SPARC plans to lobby universities and graduate schools that have existing relationships with the Defense Acquisition University or the Federal Acquisition Institute to begin offering courses that are equivalent to a federal Level 1 certification in contracting.
The coalition said it will focus on recruitment rather than selection and will not propose any changes to human resources policy, said Rinkavage, who also serves as director of acquisition services for Catapult Consultants in Arlington, Va."