The training program, created by specialists with CIRAS’ Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP), includes both new and long-standing CIRAS courses, offered both online and on-site in each corner of the state.
Pam Russenberger, program director, said the new road map arose because CIRAS recognized “a need for some standard training that all clients within the state of Iowa should have access to.”
Companies seeking information about government contracting can start with a monthly webinar covering the basics of the topic and its opportunities in Iowa. “There’s a lot of variety, and the webinars are a chance to find out if it’s right for you,” Russenberger said.
In-person sessions generally are free, Russenberger said. Classes will be staged once a year in each of four regions, so business leaders have the opportunity to attend sessions in their home regions or travel to another location if it works better for their schedules.
Online programs can be taken by anyone, anytime, anywhere—although the CIRAS website suggests certain prerequisites for some. The goal, Russenberger said, is to rapidly provide as much education as possible while maintaining flexibility. Small companies are busy, she said. “People at these businesses wear a lot of different hats.”
Small companies, especially, can benefit from the classes, said John Nelson, sales manager for ESCP Corp., a Davenport fabrication company. Nelson’s firm has been named the prime contractor on 34 government contracts during an approximate eight-year period working with CIRAS.
Lance Martin, of Calhoun Communications in Sioux City, said CIRAS did “a fantastic job of training us on the intricacies of doing business with the government” and “opened several doors for us we wouldn’t otherwise have gotten through.”
Bill Hayes of Straight Shot Express, a Davenport trucking company, said the PTAP courses have been beneficial. “Through many wonderful one-on-one discussions and several training sessions, we have a better understanding of how the government process works and how to work within the process.”
Russenberger said the new training is based on ideas from around the country and input from CIRAS surveys of Iowa companies. Five unique classes now are offered on marketing alone, and a greater emphasis has been made on networking.
A business-to-business networking event will be offered at least quarterly in each of the four regions, Russenberger said, with some areas considering monthly events.
For more information or to sign up, visit the training calendar at www.ciras.iastate.edu/procurement/training. Contact Pam Russenberger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-509-7814.