A unique career development opportunity will kick off the first week of January for several U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood civilian employees in the grades of GS 7 to 11 or equivalent.

Called the Garrison Unleashed Talent team, the effort is in conjunction with the Army Community of Excellence program.

"The purpose of this effort is to grow the future leaders of the Garrison by increasing their understanding of the Garrison's integrated work process," said Mark Premont, director, Plans Analysis and Integration Office.

Individuals will be organized in a working group to help understand, document and improve the garrison's integrated work process, according to Premont.

He said the initial group of volunteers, who were selected by competitive nomination in December 2015, would work together for a year.

"We sought individuals from every directorate and career field," Premont explained.

Members of the working group were required to have an in-depth knowledge of their organization's current operations, programs, and processes in relation to their current position in the organization, added Vince Carlton, USAG Fort Leonard Wood, Work Force Development specialist.

Carlton also said these individuals will need to be comfortable working in small groups on the Malcolm Baldrige process for quality management and performance excellence, which is the basis of ACOE.

Those selected will receive a week of on-site training, followed by two four-hour, working-group sessions every other week throughout the year.

Sessions will focus on each category of the Baldrige framework and its development.

"During that time, individuals will interact with the garrison and the deputy garrison commander on their ideas generated as part of this effort," Premont said.

"I believe in providing opportunities for our talented workforce to grow and develop their skills and shine brightly with their accomplishments," said Col. Andy Herbst, commander, USAG Fort Leonard Wood.

"Standing up the GUT enables a highly energetic team of garrison professionals with high leadership potential to be trained in the Army Communities of Excellence framework and unleash their talents to tackle our biggest challenges," Herbst said.

Participation in GUT will be in addition to current duties.

Each participant will be mentored and given a written evaluation by the deputy garrison commander on their capabilities and potential for advancement. The garrison will recognize team members for their contribution, and the individual will be certified as a career installation manager.

There is a two-year continued-service obligation associated with this program.

"I am amazed by the talented individuals who, each and every day, continue to make Fort Leonard Wood the best place for Soldiers, civilians to live, work and play," Herbst said. "I am encouraged by this opportunity to make a difference for our customers who depend on us."

For more information about the GUT program contact Carlton at 573.563.4005 or by email to vincent.d.carlton.civ@mail.mil.

(Editor's note: Members of the inaugural Garrison integrated improvement team are: Shin-Ae Young, Army Community Service; Jenny Phillips, Civilian Personnel Advisory Center; Thomas Flynn, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security; Douglass Nabors, DPTMS; Lisa Stewart, DPTMS; Ronnie Metzgar, Directorate of Public Works; Rachel Stone, DRM; Robert Henderson, Equal Employment Opportunity; Jeffrey Barrett, DFMWR; Deborah Porter, DFMWR; Jane Weixelbaum, DFMWR; Chloe Williams, DFMWR; Marti Yoshida, Public Affairs Office; Craig Willbanks, Safety Office; Jeffrey Cohen, Directorate of Human Resources; Kenya Scarlett, DHR; Janis Lawson, DHR; Rose Gabel, DRM; Sheree Doba, Plans, Analysis and Integration Office; Chap. (Lt. Col.) James Paulson, community chaplain; and Joan Lenahan-Bernard.)