Government agencies face increasing challenges in delivering efficient services with limited resources. To address these demands, Accela, recently launched a new suite of training services. With a comprehensive curriculum and a focus on maximizing technology knowledge, Accela U helps agencies gain the knowledge that helps them improve resident satisfaction and community impact. We talked with Garrick Greenhalgh, about how training helps government maximize their tech investments.
Government Technology Insider (GTI): Garrick, thanks for sharing your insights with us. Can you walk us through the challenges government workers face with integrating new technologies? How does training help?
Garrick Greenhalgh (GG): Government agencies face many challenges, including increasing service expectations from residents, constantly evolving technology, and staffing shortages. These new challenges are causing agencies to reduce the number of technology vendors they partner with, consolidate the solutions they have on a single platform, and look at ways to maximize the resources they have to keep up with resident demand. Unfortunately, talent gaps and outdated IT knowledge within agencies can prevent them from delivering swift, up-to-date and effective solutions for their community’s growing needs.
Training has a positive impact on relieving these pressures and helping agencies create an integrated, frictionless experience within and across departments and when interacting with residents. Boosting knowledge of the latest technology can help government staff save time and create more efficient processes. As a result, agency employees can focus less on the pressures of their jobs and more on its purpose.
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted an urgent need to ramp-up virtual training offerings so municipalities could continue to expand their knowledge and improve the services they offer to their communities. While these were necessary during stay-at-home orders, our customers and partners have requested we continue to build these out as they are incredibly convenient and effective, which led to our enhancement of offerings last fall.
GTI: What types of training does Accela U offer?
GG: We offer a robust curriculum of both instructor-led and self-paced events. E-learnings are video-based, topic-specific, micro-trainings available to all Accela users free of charge. These modules can be repeated as needed and completed on an employee’s individual schedule, allowing staff to address specific areas of interest.
Live scheduled training sessions are instructor-led virtual learning events. These last between four hours to four days depending on the topic. Sessions focus on best use cases, configurations and APIs; topical trainings; technical trainings and career advancement programs, which center on our Accela certifications to help develop deep expertise.
GTI: How can Accela U help different agency team members, despite differences in level or role?
GG: With Accela U, agencies can organize training courses around specific roles within their organization. For example, for the City of Cleveland, Ohio, training was tailored around six distinct groups – approvers, back office, inspectors, reviewers, technical and financial users – to ensure they each received relevant instruction. This provided more specific training for each role, more quickly, while also making better use of their time.
Additionally, many government agencies are facing staffing challenges, meaning efficiency is top of mind. People don’t have the time – and don’t find it enjoyable – to sit in training sessions that aren’t relevant to them.
Can you share what kind of training Accela will be offering during its annual fall conference?
Accela Training will be offered onsite at Accelarate 2023, which will be hosted this year at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD September 24-27, 2023. We will have an Accela U booth in the Accela Experience Center which will be staffed by training experts during the conference.
Are you ready to learn more about Accela University? You can do that here.
The author, Garrick Greenhalgh is the Director, Technical Community Development and Education at Accela. The original version of this article was published on June 20, 2023 and you can find it here.