July 30, 2012
By Vernetta Garcia, Columbia Recruiting Battalion
The third time was a charm for Columbia Recruiting Battaionp; its third annual Military Career Pathways (MCP) 101 Course in June earned rave reviews from South Carolina educators and national observers.
“MCP 2012 was the highest rated since MCP began.” said Martha Daniels, Columbia Battalion education services specialist. “It was another great collaborative initiative between educators and the Army.”
The event provided more than 60 educators from across the state a firsthand understanding of military resources, career pathways and benefits. They also learned how military careers fit into the 16 national education career clusters.
“This has been one of the most relevant professional developments I’ve attended in years,” stated a school counselor on the after action evaluation.
“This program was great and very helpful; I will definitely see my Recruiter differently,” stated a school career specialist.
Another school counselor participant stated, “Thank you for this opportunity, I feel like I can go back to my community and speak with confidence about the employment opportunities in the Army.”
Kathleen Allen, MCP 101 committee member said, “We really strive to expel myths about military service and encourage students to know all of their options about post secondary training and education.”
This unique course gives educators the opportunity to earn recertification credits. To receive Continuing Education Units, South Carolina Department of Education Credits, or Global Career Development Facilitator Credits, the MCP 101 attendees were required to participate in all the scheduled activities. And, after the event, participants are required to design a project they could implement in their schools during the upcoming school year.
On day one, educators gathered at their hotel in Columbia, where they were introduced to recruiting basics and the processing of new recruits enlisting in the Army. A major topic during this session was how recruiters and educators can work together to provide the best information to and opportunities for the students. Through a recruiter panel and plenty of networking time, both sides were able to bridge the gap between education and military.
In his opening remarks, Ray Davis, Education Associate with the South Carolina Department of Education, encouraged everyone to “ask lots of questions. We will be working hard for the next three days so you are able to educate and help South Carolina’s students.”
It is important that educators know as much as they can about every opportunity available to their students to better prepare them for bright futures stated Davis.
On day two, the group headed to Fort Jackson to get a taste of Army life and a sense of what their students would experience if they were to choose the military route. The day began with team building exercises at the one of the obstacle courses just like those used during basic training. These exercises are designed to teach Soldiers how to complete a mission, while making sure no one is left behind.
After participating in the team building, the educators got an inside look at the different career tracks and options offered by the Army. Career paths discussed were EMT, pharmacy assistant, veterinarian, and the options available through the wheeled vehicle mechanic school.
Educators heard from the Fort Jackson Deputy Commander Col. Stephen Yackley and a panel of Soldiers at different levels in their careers and education.
Day three served as a finale to the program. The morning session provided information about how the education system partners with the military Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp (JROTC) and Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC). Col. Peter Edmonds, commander of the 4th Brigade, Cadet Command asked educators to “assist us to identify quality leaders and provide support through the scholarship process.”
“As in years past, I was encouraged by the attendees’ positive impression of the Army as viable career option,” said Daniels.