Lately, those of us in the military and government space have been hearing more about sequestration and the impact it could have in Washington and beyond. But what exactly is sequestration, and what impact could it have on government training?

According to Politico, sequestration is:

“The formal term for mandatory cuts to federal programs – the process of cordoning off money that may have been authorized by Congress but is now prohibited from being spent. Literally, the money is being ‘sequestered’ – taken away from the federal agencies affected.”

Today’s round of sequestration is aimed at cutting the federal deficit, and and totals about $1.2 trillion in mandatory cuts ($500 billion from the military alone).

As always, budget cuts mean that programs will be cut across the board within federal agencies, and for many, learning and training programs are some of the first to see significant spending reductions.  However, as a proponent of the benefits learning can bring to government, I believe it is critical for government agencies to understand the value of training when these budget cuts are being considered.

Here are five reasons why government learning and development professionals should make a business case for training in the face of sequestration:

  1. Improve work quality and efficiency: Simply put, effective learning and training makes employees better at their jobs.  This can boost efficiency, decrease the likelihood of making costly errors, and even improve safety on the job – all of which will save money in the long run.
  2. Maintain a standard knowledge base:  It would be difficult for any organization to put a value on the institutional and industry knowledge it collects over time. Passing on this knowledge is critical to consistency and stability, and training provides a primary opportunity to pass it on to new employees.
  3. Attract and retain top talent: With nearly half of all government agency managers becoming eligible for retirement within the next decade, it is critical that government agencies attract and retain future leaders – and excellent learning and training programs are a great way to do so.
  4. Invest in people:  Training should be seen as a long-term investment in people instead of just a short-term, “check off the box” expenditure. Proving that your agency wants to invest in people will help attract highly-qualified employees and highlight the value of training for participants.
  5. Save money on travel:  Training does not need to consume a large portion of your travel budget. Instead, think of ways to leverage web conferencing and online technologies to conduct training at employees’ home offices and increase overall efficiency in the training process.

What other ways can government organizations make the business case for training? Leave us a comment with your additions to the list above, and visit our website to learn more about the ways Blackboard can help your agency get the most out of its investment in learning and training.

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