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News | Oct. 25, 2023

Procurement technician functional working group enables agile learning environment

By Kelli Zagata DCMA Contracts

Defense Contract Management Agency’s Procurement Technician Functional Working Group, or PTFWG, recently developed the 1106 Workforce Training Portal — a platform designed to simplify the training process and provide an open forum for collaboration across the procurement community.  

Through the process, procurement professionals strived to innovate DCMA's goal of adapting a “workplace of the future” mindset.  

“The training team first developed a mission and vision for the portal,” said Erich Wieber, a DCMA contract specialist who championed the training team. “With those guiding principles, we collaborated to centralize the most-used information for the 1106  community.” 

This new environment helps procurement technicians, or PTs, maneuver challenges and provides opportunities to interact, ask questions, and share experiences with workforce members across the agency. The team hopes this portal will address the agency’s priorities of equipping, training and developing those already in the job series. 

“The 1106-series workforce supports DCMA’s ability to pay and manage over 300,000 contracts globally through data integrity and Mechanization of Contract Administration Services management,” said Wieber. “Procurement technician contributions have a direct impact on delivery, the contractor and customer, as well as create confidence in DCMA as an acquisition partner.” 

To maintain consistency, the portal provides guidance on processes and procedures already in place, links to official resources, updated training materials, and opportunities for upcoming forums and events.  

“It is a lean enterprise asset that increases opportunity for the workforce to access job-relevant training at the point of need and offers targeted content for unique situations, enabling better problem solving,” Wieber said. “Key features of the portal also include a Microsoft Teams collaboration site, a PT training resource guide, a monthly 1106 forum and access to subject matter experts for one-on-one assistance.” 

Important features of the 1106 Workforce Training Portal (links require employee login): 

  • Pull-learning: Learning assets, such as the portal, work on the premise of pull learning, which is designed to encourage exploration, contribution by learners and offer a platform for social or collaborative learning. Ultimately, individuals should have the freedom to access additional training they want and can contribute content they’ve developed themselves. 

  • 1106 Training Resource Guide: This guide was developed by a former PT and knowledge-management champion, Meredith Kirkendall, a contract administrator based out of DCMA Denver. The guide is a comprehensive resource that assists in facilitating the training process for new and existing employees in the 1106 job series. It’s comprised of 11 chapters broken down into sections and organized by topic to centralize official resources and provide building blocks essential to job performance. 

  • 1106 Monthly Forum: Rooted in the concept of social learning and community, the forum is a mechanism that facilitates collective learning where individuals can share their knowledge with others. These sessions are currently hosted by Gysselle Cox, a supervisory contracts specialist based at DCMA Santa Ana; Chris Hebert, a supervisory contracts specialist at DCMA Lockheed Martin Denver; and Teresa Wright, a procurement technician based at DCMA Detroit. The forum is held when the Mechanization of Contract Administration Services, or MOCAS, is down to provide the opportunity for maximum attendance. MOCAS is an automated integrated contracts administration and entitlement system jointly managed by DCMA and Defense Finance and Accounting Services. 

The PTFWG consists of current and former PTs supported by stakeholders and subject matter experts who collaborate on issues and opportunities surrounding the workforce to advise, inform, and improve. They modeled the idea of a social and knowledge-sharing platform after a channel created by former PT Deeana Burke, now a management and program analyst with DCMA’s Defense Industrial Base Cybersecurity Assessment Center.  

“The site belongs to the agency’s PTs to create, connect, improve and leave behind for future employees,” said Burke. “[This tool] avoids duplication of effort and enables faster and better-informed decision-making. I see it happening in real time and feel so blessed that new PTs are continuing to add to it daily.” 

The team encourages PTs to reach out with questions, share useful tips or best practices, and participate in this ever-growing community of practice that offers a variety of learning resources.