REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - Twenty-five summer hires, interns and co-ops at U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command were treated to a Technology and Government in Your Future (TGIF) session here June 19.

Designed to team-build, network, and motivate these young workers to continue their studies and consider a future career at USASMDC/ARSTRAT, the event included an interactive "icebreaker," a command briefing, a visit by the chief of USASMDC/ARSTRAT's Technical Center, and ended with games designed to motivate the group.

Abby Ricks, program analyst with the USASMDC/ARSTRAT Business Management Directorate, Program and Planning Division, said that the TGIF program is a way to invest in the young professionals working for the command.

"It's an effort directed at bridging the workforce gap," Ricks said. "The goal of this TGIF program is focused on getting these young professionals familiarized with USASMDC/ARSTRAT and giving them a chance to network with other young professionals they may work with in the building."

The event here grew out of an USASMDC/ARSTRAT initiative with the National Education Partnership Alliance (NEPA). Dr. Rodney Robertson, director, Technical Center, is also the chairman of the government oversight committee for NEPA and assisted in organizing the program in advance of the influx of students who arrived at the command for the summer.

"He wanted us to create a program for them," Ricks said. "He gave us some ideas and we ran with it."

Robertson spoke directly to the students and interns at the event and emphasized the need for college students to continue with their schooling and attend graduate school. He encouraged the group to obtain graduate-level degrees in math and science in order to compete with the number of students from abroad who are already meeting that challenge.

Joseph Drummond, management analyst and Department of the Army Intern at the Future Warfare Center, said that he had heard a lot of talk about the future of the governmental work force lately.

"There was always the question of where we are going to get the analysts and engineers of the future to maintain a competitive edge on the global playing field," Drummond said. "I'm glad to see the command actively seeking younger professionals and not only mentoring them in their field, but also having programs like TGIF to integrate them in to the overall USASMDC/ARSTRAT and Huntsville community."

Drummond also said the advantages to these programs are many. He said the practical application of classroom theory and real world experience makes students and interns more marketable to employers.

"You get exposure and you can make sure this is what you want to do before you make the commitment," Drummond said. "This kind of program really works when there is a clear progression and developmental plan so the young professional can learn and grow."

Deborah.Erhart@smdc.army.mil

Page last updated Wed June 24th, 2009 at 10:04