June 21, 2012
By Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Jo Bridgwater, U.S. Army
Training and Doctrine Command
FORT EUSTIS, Va.-- The Army's Training and Doctrine Command is working to increase opportunities for Soldiers to receive civilian credentialing for attending military schools.
Training and Doctrine Command, known as TRADOC, is responsible for teaching roughly 150 military occupational specialties to enlisted Soldiers using 15 schools across eight locations, providing nearly 200,000 Army professionals each year with opportunities to become experts in their field.
TRADOC and the Army are increasing their efforts to help Soldiers take those skills with them, through credentials, earned with their military training and experience, when they leave the Army and compete for jobs in the civilian sector.
"The knowledge, skills and abilities Soldiers possess are very valuable and marketable to civilian employers," said Brig. Gen. Pete Utley, TRADOC's deputy chief of staff for operations and training. "What we are trying to do is work with civilian credentialing agencies and TRADOC schools to identify credentialing opportunities for more MOSs."
At a June 12 roundtable meeting in Washington, D.C., hosted by the American Legion, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civilian Personnel and Quality of Life Tony Stamilio, along with representatives from TRADOC and civilian credentialing agencies, gathered to discuss how to achieve appropriate recognition of military training and experience through credentialing programs.
During the meeting, Stamilio stated each year between 80,000 and 100,000 Soldiers leave the Army after earning skills provided by Army schools.
"We need to make sure we do all we can to support our Soldiers who have served and fought in war," said Stamilio, who believes another benefit of credentialing is to "further professionalize the force" while helping the Army to "fill gaps and improve training."
In particular the Army is looking at 10 Military Occupation Specialties, or MOSs, that have a high volume and high unemployment rate.
"The guidance is to consider all MOSs, but we need to look closely at providing proper credentialing opportunities for the highly unemployed MOSs such as infantrymen, combat engineers, military police, medics, human resources specialists, motor transport operators, wheeled vehicle mechanics, logistics specialists, and food service specialists," said Stamilio.
According to Maj. Neil Wahab, TRADOC training, plans and operations, the enlisted Soldier is the primary focus; however, the Army is also looking at initiatives for warrant and commissioned officers.
Credentials can be provided from government agencies like a commercial truck driver's license and from non-government agencies such as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence that provides credentials for mechanics.
"Soldiers are able to chart the necessary training that will assist them in obtaining professional credentialing and certification by using the Army's Career Tracker, or ACT, said Khadijah Sellers from TRADOC's Institute for NCO Professional Development.
"What is important is for Soldiers to understand that ACT will assist them to find MOS-related credentialing and certification that maximizes the training they received. ACT provides an integrated approach to a Soldier's personal and professional development which capitalizes on a mutual need for lifelong learning," said Sellers.
"Soldiers can leverage the training and experience they acquired throughout their career to obtain MOS-related credentialing and certifications," said Sellers. "These technical certifications and credentials are valuable whether you remain in the Army or leave and work in the civilian sector."
In addition, Soldiers may visit the Army Credentialing Opportunities On-Line, or COOL, website for information on how they can fulfill the requirements for civilian certifications and licenses that are related to their MOS. The COOL website also allows Soldiers to see what jobs are potentially available to them based on the skills inherent in their MOS.
"The Army's Transition Assistance Program workshop uses the COOL website to help in the employment process," said Sherman Watkins, a counselor with the Soldier Family Assistance Center and Army Career and Alumni Program on Fort Eustis. "Soldiers are having success in their job search as a direct result of using COOL."
"In the next five years, roughly a million people will leave military service and the Army spends one-half billion dollars per year on unemployment compensation," said Wahab. "Initiatives to assist Soldiers with job credentialing will enhance Soldier skills while serving and increase employability prior to separation."
"The acquired skills of the professional Soldier are viable in the civilian market and the credentialing and certification program is key in providing our veterans
a smooth transition from warrior to civilian," said Stamilio.