Garrison Training Week is led by employees from Garrison Human Resources and the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center. They are, from left, Theresa Falcetano of the Garrison, CPAC's Latoya Ragan and Syleria Jarmon, Rob Dewberry of the Garrison and CPAC's Jerrel McCollum. The first Garrison Training Week was held March 1-5 at the Officers and Civilians Club.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Army recruiters. Pedigreed domestic cats. Shopping for authentic Coach bags. Beaches of Alabama. Type 1 diabetes. Using Facebook. Effects of job-related stress. Quiltmaking. Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation construction projects. Using Government purchase cards.

All were subjects of briefings made by Garrison employees who participated in the Effective Briefing Techniques class taught during the first-ever Garrison Training Week on March 1-5.

The class of 17 students included Garrison interns and managers who took advantage of the training week to complete both mandatory and professional development courses needed to improve job performance and advance careers. Besides Effective Briefing Techniques, classes offered included 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Leadership Skills for the 21st Century, Ethics Training and SAEDA (Subversion and Espionage Directed Against the Army) security awareness training. The classes were offered in meeting rooms at the Officers and Civilians Club.

"This was an excellent week," said Garrison intern Richard Wall, who participated in the three-day 7 Habits course. "It's a chance to stand down. It's a chance to renew, refresh and provide us with a little bit better perspective of where we are going both professionally and as a Garrison. This training has provided me with the tools to go forward both in my career and my personal life."

The Garrison Training Week is the first such event held at Redstone Arsenal or, for that matter, anywhere in the Army. It is hoped the event will become a best practice for other Garrisons and organizations.

"We want this to be a DoD premier training event," said the Garrison's Rob Dewberry, who oversees education and training. "We will be putting a packet together to showcase what we have done and to help other Garrisons as well.

"With this program, employees are getting the opportunity to take courses they typically wouldn't get a chance to take here at Redstone. There has been a lot of synergy here as our Garrison employees have come together to learn together, to make professional connections and to benefit from training enrichment. This has been invigorating, and it is sending the message that you don't just have a job, you have a career."

Garrison deputy commander Curtis Clark initiated the training week last fall, tasking a group of Garrison and Civilian Personnel Advisory Center employees with the job of scheduling the training week, selecting and planning the courses to be taught, and coordinating site logistics.

"We need to have a dedicated week each quarter on our calendar for training," Clark said. "You can get a lot of mandatory training opportunities in this week and a lot of professional training as well as the synergy of bringing your employees together.

"This week has great applications for other Garrisons -- but not just other Garrisons, for units of any type."

The training team consisted of Garrison employees Dewberry and Theresa Falcetano, supervisory organizational Human Resources specialist; and Civilian Personnel Advisory Center employees Syleria Jarmon and Latoya Ragan, both Human Resources specialists (Human Resources Development); and Jerrel McCollum, lead Human Resources specialist. Assisting the team were Garrison administrative executive officer Sarah Brazzel, and CPAC HR specialists TyAnne Thomas and Jessie McCray.

"We selected courses that would meet the training needs of Garrison employees," Falcetano said.

The training week provided an opportunity to all Garrison employees to complete required and optional training courses. It also helped the Garrison respond to one of the tenants of Installation Management Command commander Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch - providing leader and work force development.

"The Army has recognized that on the military side there is a lot of professional development from day one. But civilian employees are not as active with training," said Dewberry, a retired captain whose last military assignment was the commander of the Garrison's Headquarters & Headquarters Company.

"We want to enhance that effort so that civilians come up to the same level as the military," McCollum added. "This week was designed to provide an opportunity to enhance the work force overall skills. We want our employees to be on the same level as the private work force."

Plans call for offering the training week once a quarter, with hopes of eventually reaching all 2,000 Garrison employees.

"Right now we are looking at some classes for our next training week," Dewberry said. "We want to make it even better by surveying and gauging the needs of the participants and management who participated. We want to see how to make this program better."

In planning Garrison Training Week, special consideration had to be given to the Garrison calendar.

"When you are trying to do these types of classes that involve many of your employees you have to consider the work force schedule," Dewberry said. "You also have to look at required training and optional professional development training. It's a balancing act, especially for our first time doing this."

The training team hopes to plan future training weeks far enough in advance so that it is easier for Garrison employees to block out time on their calendars to participate. During the first training week, about 125 employees took advantage of the professional development classes while the required training courses were able to accommodate up to 150 employees during each session.

"When we started planning this, we did a training needs assessment. We discussed, planned and came up with recommended courses the work force needed," McCollum said. "After the event, we will conduct a return-on-investment evaluation."

One significant benefit of the training week is that course location was convenient, making it possible for employees to obtain training at their work site rather than to travel elsewhere. That objective was only possible because of the government and vendor instructors who provided the training.

"We wanted to provide this training, but we also wanted to be cost effective," Dewberry said. "Our vendors as well as the government instructors have been phenomenal. They've worked with us to make this event the best it could be. And, by bringing instructors here instead of sending our employees elsewhere for training, we've been able to save money."

Garrison deputy commander Clark said Garrison Training Week was a big step toward providing Garrison employees with training that will make them better employees and allow them to take advantage of future career opportunities.

"I'm a firm believer that in order to do your job you must have basic training," he said. "But, a lot of times, once you have that basic training and get the job, all the rest of your training is on the job. How do we get best practices and how do we better ourselves' You have to go beyond on-the-job training and participate in professional development.

"My job is to provide enhanced training to allow employees to get to the next level, and that's not easy. With Garrison Training Week, we have taken the first step in providing that training."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16