I was a contractor for twelve years prior to becoming Civil Service. After becoming Civil Service I noticed a significant disparity at the local level in the amount of funds availalble for contractor personnel to travel for the purposes of professional training and seminars compared to Civil Service personnel. In my experience contractors seem rich in funding provided by the government to travel and train for professional and technical development while Civilians who are educated, technically credentialed, and job worthy of attending the same courses/seminars can not get the funding to go. Since the Civil Service work force is the long term arm of the government work force, it seems the money would be far better invested in the government's own workforce who will typically be there for years providing return on the investment, compared to many contractors who move around a lot and often not to government contracts. I have never understood why the government will contract fund such a large investment in the training and professional development of the contractor's employees but not invest in the same capabilities in our own Civil Service people. Sometimes it seems our Civil Service workforce is considered second class compared to the contractor work force and from the inside reality, believe me, the Civil Service work force is first class all the way and worthy of investment!