Army seeks to enhance civilian workforce
May 20, 2014
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - The Army's civilian work force includes more than 300,000 professionals, serving in about 500 unique job series both in the United States and abroad, according to an article published in Army Stand-To! April 17.
Although the service hires and promotes successful civilian employees who make up 23 percent of the total Army, they must frequently improve their career skills in order to meet a constantly changing work environment.
To that end, the Civilian Workforce Transformation program was approved by the Assistant Secretary of the Army (manpower and reserve affairs) in 2010 to review the Army's civilian workforce and to offer recommendations and modifications to managers; attract and retain top employees and help employers succeed in leadership positions Army-wide.
"Civilians must provide the technical expertise, functional management and enterprise leadership the Army needs for mission success," said Jennifer Gunn, communication team chief, public affairs office, Fort Benning, Ga. Gunn, who has personally used the program, said CWT is about providing Army civilians with needed tools to help develop stronger, functional and enterprising Army civilians.
"Essentially, it all boils down to this: civilians are vital to the Army profession," Gunn said. "The Army is not just Soldiers-its Soldiers and civilians."
The program's integrator, Scott Rowell, agrees.
"The Army wants better trained civilian employees," said Rowell, who has managed CWT-related activities for the Army since 2008.
Ultimately, the program is intended to make Army civilian employees more "robust in accomplishing missions," he said.
Hiring, management, training and sustainment are the four pillars of CWT, representing much-needed changes in the workforce and preparing civilians for the challenges in missions they will encounter throughout their careers, according to Rowell.
So far, there are 138 career positions dedicated across 31 career programs for civilian workers. Each of the 31 programs covers specific career fields, such as engineering and public affairs. Through use of a web-based portal, employees can map out a long-term plan for career progression and success, according to Rowell.
"It lists courses they should take at the various grade levels throughout their career to better equip them to do their job and be more competitive for promotions in the future," said Rowell.
CWT also spells out the duties and responsibilities for each of the program's career path managers, complimented by a "professional staff to support the career program manager in each of these career programs," said Rowell.
Senior Enterprise Talent Management (SETM) is another program under the CWT initiative that identifies potential civilian senior leaders and provides opportunities for them to obtain credentials and broaden career opportunities.
Rowell said 20 Army civilian applicants to SETM will be selected to attend Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., beginning in academic year 2016, a first for Army civilian employees.
Past candidates have attended the Army War College at Carlisle, Pa., or the defense senior leadership program at National Defense University on the Fort McNair portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
Army civilians in grade level GS-13 are also eligible to attend credentialing courses through SETM. Rowell said a new program is currently being established for grades GS-11 and 12.
"I know senior leadership is on board with this mission of creating an environment that supports a capabilities-based civilian workforce for the Army," said Gunn. "It's the right and smart thing to do."
Visit www.asamra.army.mil/cwt for additional information about the Civilian Workforce Transformation program, including career maps and programs.