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Separating Preparation

Airmen visit AFCAP, learn about resources

Air Force gave OK for its people to use joint base service

Published: 01:06PM April 10th, 2014

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is blazing a new path in joint basing and transition services.

The Air Force announced March 3 that JBLM Airmen are allowed to participate in the JBLM Armed Forces Career and Alumni Program and compete for opportunities in apprenticeships to prepare for their transition out of service.

To educate and inform the Air Force side of JBLM of programs available, AFCAP hosted a briefing for senior enlisted leaders from McChord Field on April 2 at the Stone Education Center on Lewis Main.

“We thought it was very, very important to get the senior enlisted leaders in a room, do this briefing and understand this program because you’re the key to pushing the Airmen to the commander to get approval,” senior enlisted adviser Chief Master Sgt. Anthony L. Woods said to the classroom of leaders.

More than 400 Airmen go through the transition process each year at JBLM. To better equip those separating from the service, Amy Moorash and Robin Baker of AFCAP presented transition tracks and career skills programs available to JBLM service members.

Apprenticeship and career skills programs include the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy, Veterans in Piping (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, and welding), Teamsters Veterans Entering Trucking, and Painters and Allied Trades Veteran Painters.

The training programs can lead to direct hires or connections to other potential employers.

“If we don’t get senior leaders and mid-level leaders and first line supervisors on board, none of the things that we’re doing are going to succeed, because you have to get the service members and their families to these different opportunities or they’re going to fail,” Baker said. “You have to have their support, so we wanted to inform them about all the different opportunities.”

Airmen participation in the apprenticeship and career skills programs has slightly increased. There are two Airmen in the MSSA class of 17, one Airman out of 18 in welding, and three are in the Northwest Edge Cohort program.

“It’s growing, but it’s still small,” Baker said. “We thought it was because they didn’t understand what was available and what the benefit was. The (leaders) can take that message back to their unit and increase the awareness among the Airmen and their families so we could increase their involvement.”

The programs now available to the Airmen aren’t necessarily based on what they did in the service.

“There’s something for everybody,” Baker said. “We don’t want everyone to be shoved into an apprenticeship necessarily. We want them to find the right path for them and then get connected to that resource. Advising the leadership is the step in the right direction.”

Following the AFCAP overview briefing, the senior leaders visited each of the apprenticeship sites to directly interact with the service members involved.

Before the briefing, a small group of senior Air Force leaders were given a tour of the new Miller Hill barracks across the street from Stone Ed, where they saw the new state of the art layout for Soldiers.

AFCAP will host its biannual Career Day and Prep Workshops April 29-30 at American Lake Conference Center on Lewis North. For more information contact ACAP at 253-967-3258.