It Just Got Cheaper for Agencies to Run Training Programs

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The General Service Administration and Office of Personnel Management lowered the access fees on the $11 billion training vehicle.

The government is making it cheaper for agencies take advantage of human capital and training services.

The General Services Administration and Office of Personnel Management announced Wednesday they lowered the access fee for Human Capital and Training Solutions contracts from 2 percent to 0.75 percent. In other words, agencies now pay less to use custom services offered under that acquisition category.

For some deals, agencies are required to pay GSA an access fee—typically set at some portion of the contract value—to cover the cost of developing and operating the acquisition vehicle. By reducing that fee, GSA and OPM aim to give agencies the extra push to invest in services that might have otherwise been too expensive.

“The HCaTS contracts were envisioned to support agencies in meeting complex people management challenges, including agency restructuring and reshaping," said OPM Director Jeff Pon. “The reduced [access fee] removes a cost barrier of the HCaTS contracts, which provides a strong incentive for federal agencies to use them to gain access to world-class industry partners, the human capital expertise of OPM and the acquisition expertise of GSA."

In 2016, GSA signed 109 companies onto an HCaTS contract worth up to $11.5 billion over the course of 10 years. Under the vehicle, vendors compete against one another to provide training and development, human capital and organizational performance improvement services to federal agencies.

And under the policy change, the cost to use those programs drops 60 percent.

The move comes as the government prepares for what some have called “a spending spree of potentially historic proportions.” Agencies received some $140 billion in unexpected funds through the 2018 omnibus spending bill, and they risk budget cuts if they don’t spend the money by the end of the fiscal year in September.

In the President’s Management Agenda, the Trump administration stressed the need to build a more tech-savvy federal workforce by “retooling people” for the 21st century. Agencies could likely access many of those training programs through the HCaTS contract vehicle.