Each year the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) spends a large sum of money on centralized training, sending hundreds of employees to sites across the nation for weeks at a time. These trips cost an exorbitant amount of money because each trainee is provided with airfare, a hotel room, and per diem. Additionally, training staff is often brought in from stations across the country to conduct the training, also requiring airfare, a hotel room, per diem, and sometimes overtime wages.
An alternative to centralized training would be to hire a traveling training staff that collaborates with each Regional Office (RO) to facilitate training. This staff would be hired specifically to train, ensuring consistency. They would be experienced, qualified and passionate about training. The training staff would be the only personnel required to travel, alleviating the burden of traveling on so many VBA employees. This training staff would be compensated for their travels through their salaries. By eliminating travel for hundreds of VBA employees the agency could save valuable tax payer dollars!
Using my RO as an example (approximately 100 employees), we spent over $110,000 on travel expenses due to centralized training for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
Below is an approximation of how much money it costs to send one person to training for four weeks (28 days).
$2,016/total per diem ($72/day for 28 days)
$4,200/hotel* ($150/night for 28 days)
$500/travel** ($300 for flight + $200 for taxi/misc.)
If the VBA sends an estimated 2,000 employees to training each year that is an estimated $13,432,000 of unnecessary expenses.
*Hotel is an estimated expense because Central Office (Employee Development & Training) pays for the hotels directly.
**Travel is an estimated expense due to fluctuations in airfare.