The Army is offering resilience and performance training to the more than 50 Army Civilians who will soon be out of work due to personnel reductions at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
In addition to resume writing and interview training offered by Army Community Service, the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) Training Center staff at Fort Jackson also provides training to those transitioning Army civilians.
"Resiliency training is a key component to helping our civilians manage both their personal and professional lives during a pending reduction in force in the Army Training Center at Fort Jackson. The classes enable civilians to focus on their own skill set, which helps them handle stressful situations and focus on their strengths," said Carol McCoy, Human Resources Specialist for the G1 and Command Staff, Fort Jackson.
Resilience training is mandatory for Soldiers, but also available for family members and Army civilians.. The training builds competencies that are useful in times of adversity, like optimism, connection and self-awareness.
"It is difficult during a drawdown for an employee to re-learn how to update their resume, brush up on their interviewing techniques and be ready to work elsewhere. The classes range from helping civilians building their confidence to identifying their own character strengths. It is a win-win situation for the Army civilians to attend the classes because what is learned can never to be taken away and whether it will be applied to their current job or future one, the employee will always have that knowledge," McCoy said.
Regina Norris is one of those who will lose her position this coming fall. She latched on to the training early on because she believes it will help her transition from a military job to one in the civilian world. After 24 years in uniform and nine as an Army civilian, that transition will be significant.
Norris finds the resilience skill "Put it in Perspective" useful. This skill helps people take purposeful action when dealing with a stressful situation "When encountering Soldiers and they have a task to do, and they are already thinking the worst-case scenario, Put it in Perspective helps them to refocus that thought process by thinking about the best-case scenario. It gets them in control of their emotions so they can take action," she said.
Norris says receiving training from CSF2 is "a golden opportunity and you should take advantage of it. I tip my hat to the [Fort Jackson] command to offer classes to civilians, especially at a time when we are getting ready to transition out. This helps us put more skills on our resumes."
The personnel reductions also affect those whose workloads will increase as a result.
One civilian whose work load will be increasing is Theodore Cole, a Global Assessment Tool (GAT 2.0) Facilitator for Initial Military Training (IMT). He's been through times like this before; his last position working in the 171st Infantry Brigade was cut, but he was fortunate to gain another position on Fort Jackson, working in his current role for IMT. He has attended four training sessions so far from CSF2. "They are a stark reminder of what we should be doing, and you need to be reminded of it," said Cole. "[This training] gives you insight on how to deal with real-life situations."
Although he finds all the skills useful, Cole said "Hunt the Good Stuff", a skill that builds optimism through the practice of noticing and then reflecting on the good things that occur each day, is his favorite. "I've always been a glass is half full kind of guy, so I can relate to it."
While resilience and performance training is mandatory for Soldiers, Cole thinks it should also be mandatory for Army civilians. "Anything that improves life skills is a good thing for future Soldiers and the civilian employees that support them," he said.
Cole plans to attend each class offered. "I wish I had this when I was on active duty. Revisiting the training periodically is important. You got a lot of people facing a lot of different things. They need to be reminded of the good skills that help them deal with life," he concluded.
Resilience and performance training for Army civilians continues on the first and third Thursday of each month through June, in Building 3301 on Fort Jackson. Training is open to all Army Civilians on Fort Jackson, not just those who are transitioning. Upcoming skills include: Avoid Thinking Traps, Goal Setting, Building Confidence, and Assertive Communication.