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Training and Development Policy

September 7, 2001


Individual Learning Accounts

In December 1999, OPM invited department and agency heads to participate in an individual learning account (ILA) pilot. The invitation resulted from a recommendation by the Federal Training Technology Task Force, which was established by Executive Order 13111, "Using Technology to Improve Training Opportunities for Federal Government Employees," to evaluate the feasibility and practicality of learning accounts for the Federal workforce.

Agencies were encouraged to develop innovative pilot programs that focused on enhancing skills and expertise related to performance on-the-job and could be implemented with existing resources. Twelve agencies participated in the initiative, implementing 15 different pilots.

The pilot agencies found that ILAs made training more visible in their organizations and helped highlight the connection between training, workforce development and strategic planning. In addition, ILAs fostered management and staff involvement in continuous learning decisions resulting in skill development that is integrated with organizational goals. After assessing their pilots, agencies enthusiastically concluded that implementing ILAs across Government would be beneficial.

In light of the experience gained through this pilot and the pilot agencies' conclusion, I recommend that you seriously consider implementing an ILA program in your agency. We believe if used widely and effectively, learning accounts for individuals can significantly help in our efforts to attract and retain skilled employees. The capability to shape ILA use to the unique needs of each agency gives it unlimited potential as a workforce development and learning tool for the 21st Century.

To assist you in your implementation efforts, the attached guidance as well as the Report on the ILA Pilot Initiative: A Tool for the 21st Century are available on our website (see The report provides a summary of the agency pilot programs and their results. If you need additional information or assistance, please have your staff contact Michael Fitzgerald, Chief, Leadership and Policy Division, at 606-5182, or email