Back to Top
From the APPEL Director: The Privilege of Training NASA’s Workforce

Looking back at 2015, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said, “Our workforce continues to do amazing things.” At APPEL, it is our privilege to support their efforts.

Mr. Bolden was referring to NASA being named the “Best Place to Work in the Federal Government,” among large agencies, for the fourth time in a row. This recognition, based on an analysis conducted by the Partnership for Public Service, underscores the extraordinary work done by everyone at NASA and is a tribute to the teamwork and innovation evidenced by all.

Once again, NASA’s training and development capability was ranked #1 as well. As one of many training opportunities available within the agency, APPEL is NASA’s primary resource for program/project management (PM) and systems engineering (SE) development. Our goal at APPEL is to help ensure that the agency’s PM and SE communities have the skills and knowledge they need to advance mission success.

We do this in a number of ways. We deliver courses across NASA centers to thousands of participants each year. We align our offerings with agency needs by making sure every APPEL course corresponds directly with the PM and SE competencies that NASA considers critical to project success. And we offer innovative web resources, such as the interactive PM&SE Competency Model and interactive PM&SE Career Development Framework, so that practitioners can better understand the competencies related to their work and the courses and resources that will support their development.

We support the development of NASA’s young professionals by offering courses to meet the needs of a new generation of leaders and contributing to hands-on training through initiatives such as Project HOPE and Rocket University. We promote best practices and lessons learned through the Virtual PM Challenge, an online dialogue series focused on critical aspects of project management. We also reach out to our stakeholders virtually through our website, ongoing APPEL News features, and a collection of case studies spanning years of knowledge sharing. These valuable PM-related materials are utilized by NASA practitioners as well as universities and other institutions around the world.

While we do everything we can at APPEL to support the agency’s technical workforce, we don’t do it alone. The strength of our training and development offerings directly reflects the strong support APPEL receives from NASA management. Moreover, we work closely with our stakeholders, with individuals and groups at each center, with subject knowledge experts—including the NASA Chief Knowledge Office (CKO)—and with other communities and organizations across the agency. The dedication of everyone involved makes it possible to deliver world-class training that consistently supports mission objectives.

Our efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, and for that we are grateful. In 2015, APPEL earned the prestigious honor of being named the “best academy in the world” for PM learning and development by Humans Systems International, a division of the Project Management Institute. In addition, the International Association for Continuing Education and Training presented APPEL with its 2015 Exemplar Award for significant contributions to the field of continuing education and training.

2015 has been a strong year for APPEL, and we are already looking forward to even greater success in 2016. We are developing several new courses to help project managers better understand the procurement and contracting processes so essential for project success. We are going to pilot a Project Management 101 course to help new project managers sort through the myriad of challenges they will soon face. We are also working closely with the CKO to ensure the catalogue of lessons learned are incorporated into APPEL training. And as always, the APPEL team will be listening to our stakeholders across the agency to help us become an even stronger partner in meeting your training needs.

About the Author

Share With Your Colleagues