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Free Online Acquisitions and Contracting Courses

Free Online Acquisitions and Contracting Courses


Federal Acquisition Institute LogoThe Federal Acquisitions Institute ( offers free classes. Contracting Officers, Contracting Office Representatives, and Project Managers  can meet initial certification and continuing education requirements.

Schedule of Classes

The training does not have tuition costs. You should register for upcoming classes soon because seats will fill quickly.

The catalog of courses is offered through FAITAS.

The Schedule of upcoming classes helps you find and register for a class.

Training Available through Other Agencies

Some agencies charge a fee or tuition for attending their training, so visit the Teaching School Resources page and select the appropriate teaching school to find out how that process is managed.

Acquisition Leadership Development Program


The acquisition leaders of today are required to ensure programs and projects deliver critical services to the American public efficiently and effectively. The Interior Acquisition Institute’s Acquisition Leadership Development Program (ALDP) allows senior-level federal acquisition professionals the opportunity to develop the program management and critical thinking skills required to successfully manage and integrate large and complex acquisitions into their projects.

The senior-level project/program managers ALDP cohort addresses the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act’s (the Act or the PMIAA) intent to improve program and project management practices within the Federal Government and the President’s Management Agenda of ensuring taxpayer dollars are providing critical federal services to citizens efficiently and cost-effectively. Through this 5-month program, participants will learn the critical thinking and expert analysis skills that will support decision-making and overcome challenges to program implementation and execution and will strengthen their leadership skills through a multi-faceted advanced-level leadership development training in a blended learning methodology.

Participants will participate in:

  • Program Orientation
  • Monthly Sessions
  • Professional Coaching
  • Individual Development Plan and Developmental Activities
  • Career Development Session and Graduation

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to get learning and development beyond certification training!

Program Goals

  • President’s Management Agenda Cross-Agency Priority Goals to improve the management of major acquisitions and major initiatives
  • Program Management Improvement Accountability Act (PMIAA) intent to improve the management of government programs through the professionalization of program managers
  • Strengthen champion of agency strategic goals, objectives, and missions
  • Build and shape enterprise-wide agency leadership
  • Lead creativity and drive innovation for a 21st century Federal Government
  • Integrate and align agency enterprise-wide objectives
  • Develop networks to help drive change for a high-performing organization

Program Benefits

  • Apply core values and characteristics to an enterprise leadership philosophy.
  • Apply leadership skills and competencies to provide strategic vision while building ownership and alignment within their workgroups to implement change within the
  • Department and for their major acquisition and/or major initiative projects and programs.
  • Effectively use the diverse talent that exists in their class in the achievement of organizational objectives.
  • Identify current and potential opportunities for the Department.
  • Use technology to develop technical strategies/solutions to transform federal agencies into a more effective 21st century organizations.
  • Perform and practice the enhanced role of federal program management to ensure programs produce their desired outcomes.
  • Be recognized by agency leadership as career path leaders providing expertise and mentorship opportunities to teach other program managers this skillset.

Those interested can learn more online and via Federal Acquisition Institute Training Application System (FAITAS)

Call for Applications:  ALDP CLASS OF 2019


The “Call for Applications” window for ALDP senior program management Class of 2019 is now open.

  1. Download the 2018 application packet
  2. Submit completed application packages via email
  3. Register for FPM 525: Acquisition Leadership Development Program through FAITAS


Contacts: LaTanya Anderson or Gordon Bryant at (202) 492-4644

How to Improve Performance: A Flow Chart for Development and Accountability


Training is often the catch-all solution for performance improvement of employees. However, by analyzing the nature of the performance gap – better and more effective solutions are available. The performance gap flow chart helps managers make better performance improvement decisions for their staff that yield more consistent results.

Performance Improvement Solutions Flow Chart

Performance improvement flow chart



NPS Career Fields and Learning Managers

International Society for Performance Improvement

Association for Talent Development

What is a KSA? (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities)


K.S.A. stand for Knowledge, Skills, Abilities. It is a term most often encountered in federal job applications. KSAs describe what an applicant needs to be able to do a job. It is derived from the Position Description or PD. KSAs also appear in performance standards.They describe the level of accomplishment and accountability needed to succeed in a position. Individual Development Plans or IDPs describe the learning an employee  may need .

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities

KSA Pyramid

In general you can think of a knowledge, skill, or ability as increasing in difficulty. It goes from being aware of something, or understanding a concept to applying the knowledge as a skill, to combining skills into capacity to do tasks, activities, or work.





Think of driving a car:
• You need to know the rules of the road and what each control does.
• You need to practice driving skills to move, turn, stop, and park safely in a controlled environment.
• To be certified as a motor vehicle operator you need to demonstrate your abilities to combine many knowledge and skills to operating a car safely in public.

Knowledge – An organized body of information, usually factual or procedural in nature.

For example, having knowledge of human resources’ rules and regulations.

  • Indicate what human resources rules and regulations you wish to become familiar or knowledgeable.
  • How would you apply these rules and regulations in your current or future work.

Skill – The proficient manual, verbal, or mental manipulation of data or things.

For example, having skill with operating personal computers.

  • Indicate the type of personal computers you want to operate or the type of software programs you want to use.
  • Describe how you want to use these skills to accomplish work or tasks.

Ability – The power or capacity to perform an activity or task.

For example, having the ability to use a variety of laboratory instruments.

  • Describe the types of laboratory instruments you want to learn to use and what assignments you want to complete with this lab equipment.
  • Describe the impact the ability to use the laboratory equipment will have on your current or future work.


Pop-Up Interpretation Examples for Audience Centered Experiences


This is a place where people can see successful examples of a pop-up experiences. What is a “pop-up”? They are short, ephemeral interactions where visitors stumble on an opportunity to share their experiences within a resource and connect with that resource.

Ideally examples will be from parks or programs related to the NPS.
Note: a pop-up need not be a “Personal Service” program

Pop-Up Examples

Night Spoken

Grand Canyon National Park

For eight beautiful nights, a vintage cassette recorder was placed on a table at the 2018 Grand Canyon Star Party for visitors to find. A sign next to the old machine invited visitors to record a message to the year 2218, where stars can no longer be seen due to light pollution. They looked up. And they left these responses.

[Video description: A series of pictures and videos of night skies from Grand Canyon and elsewhere, with narration from visitors to Grand Canyon]

Northeast Region Job Aid- Initiating Personnel Actions in FPPS


The Northeast Region HR Team developed  job aids for initiating personnel actions in FPPS (Federal Personnel and Payroll System). Each document provides step-by-step descriptions. They include FPPS screen shots. You can print each job aid.

FPPS Personnel Actions


Jennifer Miller
Human Resources Specialist

NPS Core Values – The Cornerstone of Everything We Do


The NPS core values are commitments – or deeply held beliefs – for how we, as employees, accomplish the NPS mission. Core values influence how we do our work, how we interact with each other, and how we are recognized as an agency both internally and externally. In essence, core values capture the culture and attitude of the agency. Fundamentally, they are inherent in everything we do.

NPS has 5 core values. An easy way to remember them is “RITES”:

  • Respect – We embrace each other’s differences so that we may enrich the well-being of everyone.
  • Integrity – We deal honestly and fairly with the public and one another.
  • Tradition – We are proud of it. We learn from it. We are not bound by it.
  • Excellence – We strive continually to learn and improve so that we may achieve the highest ideals of public service.
  • Shared Stewardship – We share a commitment to resource stewardship with the global preservation community.

What You’ll Learn

After completing the work on this page, you will be able to:

  • Recall the 5 NPS core values
  • Comprehend why different values exist for different organizations
  • Recognize how core values are distinct drivers of organizational culture

Dig Deeper

After reading the above material, reflect on the following questions. Jot down your thoughts. Consider sharing this page with a colleague or a work group for an insightful discussion.

1. The NPS core values are our guiding principles. As such, every NPS employee should know them by heart. Take a moment now to commit to memory the NPS core values. Test yourself by reciting them to a friend or colleague.

2. Choose one of the following organizations and find their core values. How do their core values support their mission? How do their core values influence their organizational identity and culture? Compare their core values to the NPS core values. What similarities and differences exist and why? [Note: the lettered notations are for use in the GOAL Academy]

  • Google (1)
  • U.S. Forest Service (1)
  • Nestle (2)
  • Amazon (2)
  • Exxon Mobil (3)
  • CVS Health (3)
  • Whole Foods (4)
  • Samsung Electronics (4)
  • United Airlines (5)
  • Apple (5)
  • General Motors (6)
  • Marriott International (6)
  • Nordstrom (7)
  • FedEx (7)
  • Walt Disney (8)
  • McDonald’s (8)
  • Verizon (9)
  • JP Morgan Chase (9)
  • U.S. Army (10)
  • American Express (10)

3. List 2 to 3 of your personal values or deeply held beliefs that guide your own moral compass. How do they compare to the NPS core values?

4. In your opinion, are the NPS core values woven into everything we do? As an agency? At your park or office? On your team? In your own work? Take a moment to reflect on whether every action, at every level of the agency, carries with it the intent, spirit, and function of the NPS core values. If not, what needs to change to make our work align with the NPS core values?

NOTE: There is a limit of viewing 4 online articles per month at Harvard Business Review without a paid subscription. If you click on the link to this article, it will count toward your limit.

7 Tips to Create Effective Teacher Workshops


  • Does your park offer teacher workshops?
  • Are they offered in the Summer? Are they multi-day or overnight?
  • Do you restrict the number of participants?
  • Is there a registration cost?
  • What partners do you include to help with planning and implementation?
  • Do attendees receive Continuing Education Credits?

There are hundreds of professional development opportunities offered by national parks that come in many forms from teacher workshops, seminars, and institutes. Workshops can range from a few hours to a week-long experience. After participating in a For Educators, By Educators webinar on Creating Effective Teacher Workshops, a list of 7 Tips were generated to help you begin collaborating with your team and partners to develop developmental opportunities for teachers.

7 Tips to Create Effective Teacher Workshops

If you are currently offering workshops to teachers or are new to this work, consider the following:

1. Ensure relevancy and alignment with state standards.
  • Keep it aligned to state standards and maintain relevancy – what’s the hook? Can you or your team take teachers to a “special” place in the park, give them access to experts, or take them deep inside the resource?
  • Include time to facilitate networking between teachers.
  • Design activities to honor teacher knowledge and skills.
2. Provide a comfortable and brave space to share.
  • Give teachers time to express their needs, goals, and what they want to gain from the workshop.
  • Include manipulative (fidgets and stress toys) especially if your teachers are new to the space or activity.
  • Find time for teachers to explore and connect with the resource on their own.
3. Provide supplies and include suggested items to bring.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Gloves, hats, boots, etc. are obvious items for many parks when considering countering environmental effects of the site, but consider brainstorming a list of the not-so-obvious items that would help teachers better enjoy the experience.
  • Field Study items: Binoculars, Field Guides, Magnifying glasses, etc…
  • Laptops, mobile devices, 3-ring binder(s), current standards, lesson plans, etc…
4. Provide compensation (i.e. stipend) for teachers.
  • Time is valuable with increasing demands; teachers are more likely to fully engage if they are being compensated.
5. Partner with other agencies and park partners.
  • There are many benefits in working with partners – they can help you staff and fund your teacher workshop.
  • Partners can help coordinate logistics (i.e. cost, convenience, housing, group size, etc.).
6. Provide educational materials (guides, books, freebies, door prizes, etc.).
  • Get teachers excited even after they leave the workshop.
  • Offer professional development credit and/or continuing education credit.
7. Provide refreshments AND food.
  •  Get creative and find ways to feed teachers, especially for longer or overnight opportunities.

Additional Resources

Thanks to Michele Bratschun, Katherine Ferguson, Theresa Hall, Michelle Ordway, Katie Phillips, Michael Simpson, Brandi Stewart, Emily Sunblade, and Christie Wilkins for helping to create this resource.

Developing a Good Goal Statement Worksheet


A goal is a desirable future end state, condition, or outcome. Developing a good goal statement is the first step in creating and executing a strategy.

What You Will Find

The Developing a Good Goal Statement worksheet provides:

  • A formula/ template for a good goal statement: “I will___ so that___resulting in” with an explanation
  • A list of action words for goals
  • Space to write your goal
  • Some examples of good goal statements

Borrowing a Trades Alive Video Kit

Do you have an idea in mind for a great Trades Alive video but you don’t have any of the technology to actually capture the footage?


  • Complete a request form to borrow a kit (see below).
  • Kits are available for a maximum of 7 days and must be returned in good condition.

Trades Alive! Video Process

Step 1: Submit Proposal and Script

Submit your video proposal and script using the form below. Be sure to include all appropriate details about materials used, PPE, detailed steps of your technique and a shot list. To learn more about writing a good proposal and script, visit our How to Write a Script page.

Step 2: Receive the Kit and Record

After your proposal and script are approved, we’ll send you a video kit to use. Using your script and shot list, you will record the components of your video, including:

  • Wide shots of the technique
  • Close-up or detail shots of the technique
  • A staff member on camera talking about the technique, when it’s used, how it’s used, and safety information
  • A voice over of someone reading the script describing the steps of the technique

You may also include:

  • Video examples of before and after shots of the technique
  • Shots of the equipment used in the technique

When you’ve finished recording your video, you will need to return the complete kit along with your final script. The final script includes each line matched up to a description of the corresponding video shot as well as the filename of that clip. We’ve created a Script Template to help you in planning and writing your script!

Step 3: Video Draft and Final

After you’ve returned the kit and your footage our video specialists will work with your script to put the final video together. The more specific you can be on your final script as to what shots go where, the easier it will be for our specialist to put together the final video. Then the video will be sent to a review panel of subject matter experts and back to you for review.

Step 4: Compliance

Once the video is finalized, we will contract to have the video captioned and audio described. This step is required by law under 508 compliance. After compliance is completed, we will upload the video to our video repository, to the Common Learning Portal, and a link will be sent to you to share with your colleagues.

Borrowing a Kit

To borrow a video kit, submit a video kit request form.

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