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Jeanette Graebener: Engineering an Inventory of Minds at SAIC
Training at SAIC is constant. The company offers more than 200 instructor-led courses per year in a variety of discipline areas, including business management, program project management, proposal development, contracts, procurement and technical training and certification. There is also a significant e-learning contract that offers more than 2,000 courses via the Web to all SAIC employees accessible anywhere, at any time. Employee-owners have access to a virtual library with 4,000 titles for research, and online mentoring is conveniently available should they run into a problem. A large number of the instructor-led courses are taught by SAIC employees who help pass along the company’s processes and methodologies, though SAIC will bring in outside vendors should the need arise.
“For those things that we need outside expertise in, we bring in vendors, we bring in universities, we bring in certification programs, technical training,” Graebener said. “We bring in whatever we need and don’t have the expertise for. We’re totally blended learning. We do a lot of training via data exchange, video teleconferencing, we do audio streaming.”
SAIC University also offers a number of on-site master’s degrees and undergraduate and graduate certifications. SAIC has had a partnership with George Washington University for the past six years and has put a number of people through systems engineering graduate certificate master’s programs.
“We’re a brain trust,” Graebener said. “SAIC doesn’t sell widgets, we don’t have a product that we sell. We sell our intellectual property. We’re an inventory of minds, and we do that by managing large- and small-scale projects, and so we have a need for systems engineers. Our company is so committed to that, they award vesting stock to those individuals who complete those programs and we have a number of schools and curricula that are approved for those programs. As they complete a master’s degree in that program they are awarded $5,000 investing stock. There have been millions of dollars spent on that. That’s significant, the money that has been spent on that, and we have a very high retention rate because of the program.”
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