FORT EUSTIS – In June, President Barack Obama announced a “We Can’t Wait” initiative to help service members obtain civilian credentials and licenses for manufacturing and other high-demand skills they learned while attending military schools.
“Our economy needs their outstanding talent,” Obama said in his June 1 address to Honeywell employees in Golden Valley, Minn.
Under the president’s direction, the Department of Defense established the Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force. Its goals include identifying military specialties that readily transfer to high-demand jobs; working with civilian credentialing and licensing associations to address gaps between military training programs and credentialing and licensing requirements; and providing service members with greater access to necessary certification and licensing exams.
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Training Integration Directorate is leading the Army’s efforts to ensure Soldiers earn legitimate qualification in their respective military jobs and are competitive in the civilian workforce once they leave the military.
“Quite simply, we have a huge opportunity here to leverage the skills taught by TRADOC’s world-class schools to help our service members and veterans,” said Maj. Neil Wahab, TRADOC training staff officer.
TRADOC is responsible for teaching roughly 140 military occupational specialties, or MOSs, to enlisted Soldiers throughout 14 schools across eight locations. These schools provide nearly 200,000 Army professionals each year with opportunities to become experts in their field.
One example of a partnership between the military and manufacturing professionals is the U.S. Army Engineer School, located at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. The Engineer School is collaborating with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, or SME, to expand certification to engineer officers and warrant officers to test on SME’s Certified Manufacturing Technologist or Lean Bronze Certification.
“The Army’s engineer school was asked to partner with the Society of Manufacturing Engineers as part of the president’s Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force,” said Sgt. Major Michael W. Dobbs, Directorate of Training and Leader Development, USAES. “We have been charged to run a one-year pilot program to assess the potential of engineers to meet SME’s credentials.”
A similar effort is underway between the U.S. Army Transportation Corps and the Department of Transportation. The two met at the primary 88M (Motor Transport Operator) training facility at Fort Leonard Wood on Sept. 10. This meeting helped to identify and bridge the gaps between military training and the testing required to receive a commercial driver’s license, or CDL.
“The visit was a continuation of the ongoing commitment to assist Soldiers transitioning to the civilian transportation industry with a CDL,” said Lt. Col. Arturo Calzadillas, chief of the Training Total Force Integrator Division of the Transportation Corps Regiment at Fort Lee.
In addition to the White House “We Can’t Wait” initiative, TRADOC is also implementing National Defense Authorization Act FY2012 credentialing pilot programs. The
Ordnance School began offering last month automotive service excellence credentialing opportunities for Soldiers with the MOS 91B, wheeled vehicle mechanic. The Quartermaster School will also offer certified logistics associate credentialing opportunities for Soldiers with the MOS 92A, automated logistics specialist, and 92Y, unit supply specialist.
Future credentialing efforts will focus on allied trades specialists, or metalworkers, and information technology-related military occupations.
The Army currently has 58 military occupations with operational credentialing programs. Also, TRADOC is spearheading the development of credentialing programs for an additional 18 military occupations.
“In-service credentialing would be a definite asset to the Army and Soldiers,” Dobbs said. “A Soldier possessing verifiable credentials that are readily recognized by industry will improve our profession and lead to a smoother transition along the continuum of service.”
To learn more about job certification and credentialing for a specific Army MOS and get a leg up on the competition, check out Credentialing Opportunities On-Line, the Army’s COOL website at www.cool-dev.com/army/search.htm.