The Government Employees Training Act (GETA) became law in 1958 giving Federal agencies general authority for employee training. Among its many provisions, this law authorized the use of non-government training resources to meet identified training needs which otherwise could not be met with existing Governmental programs and facilities.
Before the enactment of GETA, some agencies carried out in-house training as part of their management function, other agencies had Congressional authorization to provide non-government training, still others were seeking that authorization.
GETA establishes a flexible framework for the training and development of the Federal workforce. Specifically, it allows agencies to fund employee training to assist in achieving their mission and performance goals by improving employee and organizational performance. Amended in 1994, the Act permits agencies to take advantage of the existing training marketplace, Government or non-Government.
Paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of Section 2 of GETA are not codified (they serve as background information rather than mandate action) in Title 5 of the United States Code but are extremely important to an understanding of the law's intent. They declare the policy of the United States Congress and capture the purpose and intent of human resource development today:
(1) [I]t is necessary and desirable in the public interest that self-education, self-improvement, and self-training be supple- mented and extended by Government-sponsored programs for the training of such employees in the performance of official duties and for the development of skills, knowledge, and abilities which will best qualify them for performance of official duties;
(2) [S]uch programs are to be continuous in nature, shall be subject to supervision and control by the President and review by the Congress, and shall be so established as to be readily expansible in time of national emergency; [and]
(3) [S]uch programs shall be designed to lead to:
improved public service,
the building and retention of a permanent cadre of skilled and efficient Government employees well abreast of scientific, professional, technical, and management developments both in and out of Government,
lower turnover of personnel,
reasonably uniform administration of training, consistent with the missions of the Government departments and agencies, and
fair and equitable treatment of Government employees with respect to training.