Technical Career Field Training Program
Public Affairs

The field of Public Affairs and Communications has evolved to become a proactive aspect of senior management within Department of Veterans Affairs. Concurrently, effective communication with stakeholders within and outside of VA is an essential part of VA's mission, and a professional public affairs officer (PAO) must possess certain levels of knowledge and experience in order to be effective.

The PAO of the 21st century should be expected to do more than plan special events and take photographs. VA is under constant scrutiny by the media, Congress, and the public; the PAO plays an important role in responding to agency issues, as well as shaping the perception and image of the organization.

Developing communications strategies, positive media relations, effectively communicating to staff and the public, utilizing the power of the Internet to reach Veterans, and positively promoting medical centers must be key functions of a public affairs officer.

Program Summary

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Public Affairs TCF Program is designed to meet and identify short- and long-range public affairs needs of VHA. The program is intended to develop skilled, competent public affairs professionals, who will be critical to VA's success in the future.

The training program will also assist the public affairs program in meeting succession-planning goals. The training program provides appropriate time for trainees to get the experience they need under the supervision of a well-qualified mentor. The public affairs trainee program will be conducted in a manner that will fully utilize the trainee's time and effort.

Training Specifics

Upon completion of the training program, graduates will be fully functional Public Affairs Specialists. The program will create trained, mobile, well versed and tested individuals for senior positions in the VA Public Affairs community by:

  • Providing opportunities for each trainee to develop the necessary knowledge, skills, and leadership abilities in a supportive environment
  • Achieving basic uniformity in the qualifications, selection, training, and evaluation of the trainees
  • Ensuring all graduates enter their first placement positions with all the necessary technical knowledge and skills required for successful performance