As a global workforce, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) staff must continuously learn, grow, and align professional skills within the constant political and social changes. The improvement and growth of staff skills contribute to the agency’s ability to achieve its mission of saving lives, reducing poverty, strengthening democratic governance, and helping developing nations progress beyond assistance.
As stated in the Global Workforce Learning Strategy (GWLS), developed by USAID’s Office of Human Capital and Talent Management (HCTM), “It takes a world-class cadre of motivated, qualified staff to manage and lead a dynamic international development organization.” The GWLS is the primary guide for the agency’s learning, training, and professional development initiatives. The guide includes a five-year plan which focuses on three strategic objectives:
- Improved alignment of workforce development policies and programs
- Improved agency, employee, and supervisor accountability for learning
- Improved agency leadership development.
RTI is dedicated and committed to USAID success in developing current and future leaders. For more than 13 years, through the Program/Project Management Training (PPMT) and Worldwide Training (WWT) contracts, our Integrated Learning Solutions team has provided technical advisory and assistance to HCTM and designed and developed training to help build and sustain USAID’s exceptional cadre of development professionals. Under WWT, our staff has also provided expert guidance and support to the development of USAID’s GWLS.
We are working to improve the learning and capacity development of the USAID staff based in more than 100 countries. To date, we have provided training in all USAID mission regions, including Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Eurasia, and the United States.
In collaboration with HCTM’s Center for Professional Development and Harvard University, we designed and developed several leadership training activities. Most recently, we facilitated a two-day leadership workshop for senior executives. We are also working on ways to enhance USAID staff’s ability to supervise and manage personnel and program activities in non-permissive environments (NPEs) – areas where conflict or instability makes safe operations difficult. We are designing an e-learning module that provides the agency’s new perspective on NPEs and adaptive management, the NPE framework, third party monitoring, scenario planning, and much more.
Designing Customized Blended Learning Solutions
Our learning and training advisory support allow for the design and delivery of instructor-led courses, online modules, webinars, and other methods of delivery—each tailored to the needs of USAID headquarters and mission staff. We apply adult learning principles and sound instructional design strategies in the design and development of each course to ensure course materials are engaging to a diverse audience with disparate learning styles. To ensure optimal learning experiences, our skilled logistics staff collaborate with training coordinators around the globe. We offer a comprehensive suite of core courses that help to build USAID staff’s skills that include, but are not limited to, program cycle, project design, activity design, budget and resource management, and acquisition and assistance for Contracting Officer Representatives and Agreement Officer Representatives.
Adapting to Policy Changes to Keep Instruction Relevant
USAID staff implement projects in various cultures and environments and must produce tangible results as quickly and efficiently as possible. To ensure each course is relevant to agency needs, we customize our courses to ensure alignment with policy and guidelines of the Automated Directive System. As part of our quality assurance process, we review post evaluations and after-action reports from course sessions so that we can make adjustments for future course delivery. Depending on the complexity of the changes, we may also design and develop new courses to meet the demands of the dynamic international development environment. These courses, such as Introduction to the Program Cycle, Project Design, and Budget and Resource Management, are now delivered to USAID missions around the world.
Continuous improvement and delivery of training courses allows us to maintain RTI’s and USAID’s commitment to developing and growing knowledgeable and skilled international development professionals.
Over the last 13 years, our team has performed more than 250 task orders, and delivered more than 1,400 courses to approximately 33,000 USAID staff all over the world. In addition to delivery, we have designed and developed more than 20 blended learning courses.