ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Hundreds of garrison employees gained insight into the information and resources available to enhance their careers during the first APG Garrison Professional Development Training Symposium at Top of the Bay Oct. 16.
Highlighting the day-long agenda were training sessions led by guest speakers Vicki A. Brown, chief of Civilian Training and Leader Development, Pentagon G-3-5-7 Training Directorate; Dr. Brenda G. Miller, senior safety director, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center; and Anthony Tormey, president and CEO, Leader Development Institute.
Garrison Commander Col. Gregory McClinton and Glenn Wait, deputy to the garrison commander, added supporting remarks.
Celestine Beckett, the garrison's Human Resource Directorate leader and workforce development manager, hosted the event.
The overall goal was to inform employees about career-focused leadership, education and training opportunities available for career advancement. Having this information available at one time in a single forum was the key, Beckett said.
"We do want employees to feel confident that they are doing all they can to manage their own careers. For some, attending this symposium was the first step in that process."
According to Wait, it is critical that the workforce has the proper tools to know and understand where they need to go for career information.
"The real takeaway is that while each individual is responsible for his or her career, we want to make sure they have all the tools that they need," Wait said.
He said the symposium, while successful, was only the first step and that training over the next year will focus on specific areas such as Army Career Tracker and GoArmyEd.
"We'll pare it down to specific venues and opportunities to give folks what they need to develop," he said.
Another thing being looked at is career programs, and making sure everyone is in line with their program, Wait added.
"There is so much information out there; the idea is to let folks know where to find the information and how to use it.
"The bottom line is, I can provide all of the tools, but the individual must take those tools and use them."
The session led by Brown touched on several programs and courses geared toward developing Department of the Army civilians. She said her office works with the DOD to look at what the federal government needs to do to improve the civilian workforce and that supervisors and leaders are tasked with ensuring their subordinates are informed.
"You have to have the attitude that your supervisor owes it to you to make sure you have the skill sets to do the job you were hired to do," she said.
She reviewed civilian guiding principles, including Army and leader development imperatives and gave an overview of the Civilian Leader Development Program, and the Civilian Education System (CES) and equivalent courses.
She encouraged attendees to access www.civiliantraining.army.mil to learn more.
"Success is defined as a civilian training and leader development program that is fully coordinated," she said.
A culture of success
Tormey discussed the how building a culture of success is in line with the U.S. Army Core Values.
"Core values lay the foundation for success for the organization," he said. "The problem is, we have core values but we don't embrace them."
He encouraged listeners to take the Army and Civilian creeds to heart to gain success in their professions as well as in their personal lives.
"It's a lifestyle," he said.
The Army profession
The session led by Wait, titled "America's Army; Our Professionals," focused on the Army as a profession. He reminded listeners of their oath to the nation and showed video featuring comments about Army virtues from Command Sgt. Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler.
"This was about laying out the importance of our profession and how the things we do every day affect out Soldiers," Wait said
The session culminated with everyone on their feet as Wait led the reading of the Army Civilian Corps Creed and the Oath of Office for Army Civilians.
"We swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States," he said. "Not a lot of professions do that. To me, that's the key difference between X professions and the Army profession."
During closing remarks, McClinton said the symposium was "outstanding" and he thanked Beckett, organizers and volunteers for their efforts to bring the event to the Garrison workforce.
He said one goal of the training process is to hold leaders responsible for the training of their organizations.
Beckett thanked the guest presenters, the Garrison command group and directorates and the Top of the Bay staff for their support. She also requested feedback from participants.
"We will be looking out for other opportunities for the workforce," she said, noting future training events to complement the annual symposium will be planned as they occur.
"It's all about job satisfaction," she said.
Several attendees expressed appreciation for the information and guidance.
Vivia Pollock, a nonappropriated fund employee with the Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said she was not aware of much of the information the symposium provided.
"Information is power and now I'm feeling more in control," she said.
Garrison employee Jodi Knowles said she thought the overall program was well put together and "highly informative."
"I learned about several new programs and some not so new, just with different names," she said. "It was important and relevant."
Directorate of Public Works civilian Stanley McNulty said he thought the shared information gave people "ownership of their careers."
"They gave out information and explained how things work. That's information everyone needs," he said.
For more information or suggestions about future workforce development training programs, contact Beckett at 410-306-2333 or email email@example.com.