By Nick Spinelli , Fort Gordon Public Affairs OfficeOctober 31, 2013
FORT GORDON, Ga. (Oct. 31, 2013 ) -- A White House initiative set up earlier this year will help service members earn valuable certifications as well as make them more marketable in the private sector once their military careers end.
Originally announced in April, the Information Technology Training and Certification Partnership offers service members the opportunity to earn industry recognized IT certifications before transitioning out of the military.
"This is an initiative originally designed to help ensure Soldiers transitioning out of the military have the necessary certifications to enter the civilian workforce," said McKinley Curtis, lead development analyst for 15thRegimental Signal Brigade. "But since we don't have anyone transitioning out, we've been authorized to offer it to beginning and mid-career Soldiers."
The program offers various credentials in the IT field, ranging from baseline certifications to specific communication and organizational ones. Many of these are already taught to signal Soldiers as a regular part of their coursework, so the credentialing is a bonus.
"The way it works is, if we teach an industry certification type course such as Cisco or Microsoft, they can take the certification exam through the Army." Curtis said. "They will learn the information regardless, but there is some extra training they have to do on their own to ensure they are ready to test."
That extra training can be found and completed by visiting the Skillport website, https://usarmy.skillport.com. There, all prerequisite training can be found and completed. Once it's finished Soldiers can contact their course managers for approval and scheduling of a test. All testing will be held in the Signal Center and certification exams must be completed prior to graduation or departure. However, there are some exceptions. Vouchers for those training away from the installation could potentially be issued, and Curtis says they will be considered on a case by case basis. Additionally, while the program is primarily for those in the IT field, all Soldiers on Fort Gordon are eligible to apply, regardless of where they work.
"If the person puts in the time and learns the material, we'll give them the opportunity to take the test and earn the certification," Curtis said.
More information on the credentialing program can be found at www.signal.army.mil.