Department of Veterans Affairs

Use VTel-Net Meeting-electronic medium for training-not travel

With today's budget constraints within the federal government along with the deficit - traveling for training should be at the top of cuts proposed by all areas of the government. In 1995 while working for the Dept. of the Navy, our training consisted of Video Teleconferencing versus traveling to other cities/states in many instances. The VA recently within the past couple years has the capability of V-Tel but I don't recall any training being offered via the V-Tel. In todays age of automation, so many $ could be saved versus moving training to the electronic medium via V-Tel, Net Meetings or other electronic mediums. The savings would be insurmountable. Example: sending 2 employees for training, 1 week Texas, $4000 each person for a total of $8000, not to mention the other 100 individuals who traveled to the same location for travel - not to mention the fee charged for the facility booking for that week, along with light refreshments. So imagine, if everyone's travel was based on an average of $2000 x 100 employees, and the conference center was $3000 for the week - that is $203,000 just for that one travel engagement for one small entity of government. I believe that all agencies of the goverment could contribute to savings and help the deficit by using electronic means for training purposes. Government entities have computers both for individual employees and computer "rooms" for training, most have V-Tel, most use Net Meeting or some other electronic means. The amount of savings are inconceivable. Also think of the savings of comp time for those employees during travel who are late traveling, or those employees who need to make accommodations for child care, parent care or pet sitting - think of employee satisfaction to know that their training is held onsite in the normal course of a workday. We are taxpayers too - lets use electronic means for training and cut 80% of the travel cost. Start thinking like a small business and use available resources.

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Idea No. 10664