FORT SILL, Okla.-- In a time when training funding has dried up, Fort Sill's Education Center is offering a flood of free training to Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians.

Team Sill Leadership Academy is offering 12 weeklong-courses through September on topics from effective military writing to stress management. Each course is meant to enhance leadership skills no matter the student's military occupational specialty or profession.

"It's no cost, all the materials are provided. We just need the students," said Priscilla Sacks, Education Services officer.

TSLA has offered courses free for three years now and they don't intend to stop. They are already seeking a grant from the Oklahoma State Department to fund courses through 2014.

Academy's beginnings
"We'd been trying to come up with a new initiative to get Soldiers into school. They needed something to jump-start them into college and this gets them in the mindset of civilian education as a parallel to their military education."

She said the courses help Soldiers and civilians develop coping skills that will aid them personally and professionally.

"We were also looking at a program that would help our wounded warriors," said Sacks.

She added they are not just for those entering the workforce, but also for seasoned leaders.

"Senior leaders do it to refresh skills or to develop new skills. They've been in one field so long this helps them transition for a job after the Army," said Sacks.

For civilians, the course time can also count toward professional development on their civilian record.

The courses began when a former Fort Sill Judge Advocate General commander shared best practices from his previous duty station.

"Colonel Pederson started an initiative in Korea. It was mandatory for Soldiers to keep them out of trouble and be productive at the same time. So, Major General Halverson and Command Sergeant Major Smith jumped on board," said Sacks. "We patterned this off a similar program at Fort Hood, . We copied some of the things that they did, but we modified to fit Fort Sill's need."

Flexible schedule
Courses are conducted either in the morning or afternoon in Truman Education Center, Bldg. 3281.

Sacks said the on-duty program fits the schedule of Fort Sill's different missions. For example, Training and Doctrine Command instructors will have an easier time attending the courses because they are not full days at a time.

Sacks said civilians need to keep upcoming furloughs in mind when planning to enroll in the courses. She said they could attend the four-day courses offered as long as their furlough day falls on Friday.

Each course is worth one semester hour of college credit through Central Texas College. The courses follow the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and all credits are transferable so students can continue their education wherever they go. Soldiers and DA civilians need their commander's or supervisor's approval to enroll.

Active-duty Soldiers can enroll online through, click "on duty courses." Civilians can get an enrollment form from the Welcome Center, Bldg. 4700, Mow-Way Road, on the fifth floor, or call 580-442-3201.