Three years ago, the VA Acquisition Academy (VAAA) and its Acquisition Internship School began a program called the Warriors to Workforce (W2W) Program. The W2W Program was created to provide returning wounded Veterans with the opportunity to take their skills and experiences obtained through military service and apply them to a new professional field.
For the W2W Program, interns are hired as GS-1106 procurement technicians.
The W2W curriculum provides participants with the training needed to succeed in challenging careers as federal contract specialists. During the first year of the three-year program, interns complete 24 college credits in business courses. These classes and credits are required for entry into the contract specialist GS-1102 job series. Participants also take part in performance training and performance psychology.
After completion of the first year, interns convert to contract specialists in the Acquisition Intern Program, earning on the job training and experience. Upon successful completion of the program, interns are strategically positioned into the workforce, throughout the country, to meet the needs of VA contracting organizations.
The curriculum provides extensive technical and business skills training, advanced biofeedback work, mission service, and on-the-job rotations. The built-in support system and network mirrors the team environment and camaraderie that Veterans experienced in the military, easing the transition to the civilian professional world.
The W2W Program was launched in 2011 when 26 Veterans began their mission to become federal acquisition professionals through the program. Their mission was completed on Thursday, November 6th, as they graduated and transitioned to full-time federal contract specialists.
With sponsorship from VA’s Office of Information and Technology, the program was expanded in 2013 for Veterans interested in a career in program management. Similar to the original program, the W2W the Program Management curriculum includes IT and foundation program management training. The first class will graduate in 2016.
Ideal candidates for these programs are military Veterans who have service-connected disabilities, and little-to-no post-high school education (e.g., no bachelor’s degree). Veterans interested in applying to the W2W Program can email [email protected] or call 240-215-0561. Veterans with a bachelor’s or other advanced degree can apply for the VAAA’s two-year Acquisition Intern Program. For more information on the two-year program, email [email protected] or call 240-215-0561.
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Military Connection: Intern Program for Veterans: By Debbie Gregory