By By Capt. Tania Wilson, Adjutant General Career Manager, Army Reserve Careers Division April 29, 2013
The path to greatness isn't always easy… whether you're a junior officer learning the ropes in the Army Reserve, or considering continuing service outside of the active component, a little help from experts in your field can make all the difference when striving for career progression.
Capt. Cynthia Lenley calls the gratitude in a Soldier's voice the intrinsic reward of being a career management officer. According to the medical service corps career manager at Army Reserve Careers Division headquarters, "I truly enjoy helping officers learn to manage their careers."
The Career Management Office is part of a pilot program providing one-on-one counseling to drilling Troop Program Unit officers identified as needing military education for promotion eligibility - giving young officers a leg up in their professions.
"Helping officers with their individual needs makes me feel like I'm making a difference in an officer's career progression, especially junior lieutenants and captains," said Maj. Robert Rogers, a military police career manager at Army Reserve Careers Division headquarters.
Since the establishment of the Career Management Office in January 2012, the small team of 27 officers has completed more than 250,000 actions. And as word gets out, said Col. Gary Bullard, commander of ARCD, the team expects more officers to take advantage of this innovative and proactive program.
"The latest report shows that in just one week, a total of 528 Soldiers contacted the Career Management Office, primarily relating to promotion requirements. In the same time frame, more than 1,000 personnel actions were completed by the CMOs," said Bullard. "As awareness increases, I expect a dramatic boost in the number of Soldiers reaching out for career assistance."
The Army Reserve established a comprehensive career management office to ensure Army Reserve officers receive a level of career management support equal to their counterparts across components. The goal of the CMO is to help as many officers as possible by preparing their files for promotion boards, assisting them in locating key developmental military positions, and empowering them to manage their own military careers.
"Twenty five branch-specific career managers facilitate career awareness, emphasize educational requirements, provide assignment opportunities and assist with our officers with their career-path progression," said Lt. Col. Timothy J. Washington, the strategic planner for ARCD. "In layman's terms, their job as career managers is to help Soldiers get promoted, and to assist them in finding key military developmental positions in order to create a well-rounded officer corps."
The effectiveness of the program is evidenced by the increase in promotion eligibility. In 2012, 20 percent more majors met the qualifications to compete for promotion to lieutenant colonel.
The second component of the program is the Army Reserve TPU career management forum. According to Washington, these events are conducted by CMOs and average 50 attendees, ranging from warrant officers to colonels.
"These seminars are designed to develop a more proactive officer corps by educating participants on new and relevant information that will allow them to more effectively manage their careers," said Washington. "Attendees are also given the opportunity to review and update their files to ensure they are ready, armed and dangerous for the upcoming board."
The career forums provide an opportunity for officers and career managers to interact. A recent CMO forum held during Soldier Readiness Processing at Ft. Shafter, HI, gave the participating career managers an opportunity to assist a large concentration of second lieutenants thru captains, and numerous Army Medical Department officers.
First Lt. Louis Zemek, the operations officer for the CMO team has conducted forums from Houston to Honolulu.
"Building the career management program from the ground up has been a challenging experience," said Zemek. "My most rewarding experience is having had the privilege of assisting officers in their career progression."
The CMO program provides comprehensive career management to TPU officers in order to facilitate career awareness, meet education requirements, and assist with locating position vacancies and career path progression. Information regarding upcoming promotion boards, career manager contact information and useful links for Department of the Army photos, position vacancies, benefits and other frequently asked information can be found on the Career Management website.
Check out the CMO website and contact a career management officer today at: http://stayarmyreserve.army.mil/cmo/cmo.html