APRIL 26, 2023 – For the second year in a row, and with a whole quarter remaining, the education service specialists (ESS) and testing coordinators from around USMEPCOM have surpassed their annual goal for completed tests in the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Career Exploration Program (CEP).
As of April 1, 565,777 tests have been completed at schools around the country, exceeding the goal of 545,395.
According to Tabitha Jefferies, ASVAB CEP national program manager, J-3, the goal number is set considering the different challenges unique to each ESS and testing coordinator area. The focus is on high-quality rather than high numbers.
“Instead of giving our MEPS testing personnel a goal that was outside of the norm, we were able to take in other considerations for success,” said Jefferies. “We were able to give our personnel an opportunity to refresh themselves and have a great work-life balance. So that in turn gave us more return on our investment because they were able to go out and work at a higher quality. In addition to that, they were able to spend more time building relationships and networking with our community.”
That networking is helping to rebuild relationships with schools after the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as introduce school personnel to the ASVAB CEP that might not have previously understood what it was.
“Instead of focusing on making mission, we can now spend time educating the educators to make sure they understand the why behind what we do,” said Miguel Ortega, the ASVAB CEP manager in San Diego.
“When you show them the program, they see the value in it.”
Administering the test is just the first part of the ASVAB CEP. For the program to be effective, program personnel follow up with students to administer a Post-Test Interpretation.
According to Jefferies, since the COVID-19 pandemic, young people in the demographic of 16-23 seem to be more undecided about their future than they were before. She believes that the ASVAB CEP can be a good tool for students to branch out into different things that they might like or would potentially be good at, while they figure out what path they would like to take.
“You don’t just have to do one thing and put all your eggs in one basket,” she said. “And so, once they have that epiphany in a year, or six months or 10 years, they will at least have some information to help them go in a better direction.”
Ortega believes the program is even giving students the confidence to try career fields they previously didn’t think they were capable of.
“CEP is meant as a free program to help students understand what they are doing after graduation,” he said. “Sometimes, it even changes the perspective of the students of what they can accomplish.”
In addition to helping young people figure out what potential career fields they might like or be good at, the ASVAB CEP can be used as a pathway to graduation in some states like Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas in lieu of other testing requirements.
For Jefferies, hitting the testing goal just proved what she already knew to be true.
“I’m not surprised because I knew that we could do it,” she said. “We have an amazing team, and we have so many skills. Just because we’ve met the goal, doesn’t mean that the battle for the year is over.”
Story by Joseph Wax
U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command