CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea -- Safety and Occupational Health Specialists Cho, Tae Hyon and Kim, Kwang Sop recently accomplished something in ten weeks that historically took local national employees ten years.

Cho and Kim are the first Korean employee's to graduate the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center's, Career Program 12 Joint Safety and Occupational Health course.

Previously local national employees were required to transition between duty positions to gain the required skills to complete their introduction to the Safety and Occupational Health fields on average taking ten years to accomplish.

Looking to reduce the training discrepancy between his foreign and American workforce, Humphreys Safety Manager William Hansel researched how to afford his entire workforce the same opportunities.

Hansel reached out to Dr. Brenda Miller, the Functional Chief Representative for CP-12, and inquired whether local national employees could attend the same functional training as their U.S. counterparts.

"For about a year we collaborated with the Safety Center to develop the process and funding for our KGS employees--that had never been done before" said Hansel.

"This not only benefits us but all OCONUS garrisons and foreign employees" said Hansel.

Cho and Kim were not the only local national employees at the course, a German and a Japanese student attended for the first time.

Kim said the course challenged them both.

"It was really hard to get thru, the course has been compressed from sixteen to ten weeks," Kim said. "We were given high-tech information and they had high expectations of our job performance."

Cho also spoke to the difficulty of the course.

"Ten weeks is a long time and the course was tough with our language barrier," he said. "We got a lot of help from our classmates."

Cho and Kim credit their classmates and instructors for helping them through the class with regards to the language and culture differences.

The resident course at Fort Rucker, Alabama is the final piece in the CP-12 Certificate Program that will lead to Cho and Kim receiving American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited certifications.

The certificate program consists of three phases: a block of pre-resident distance learning courses, the ten week resident course and another block of post-resident distance learning courses.

Once all requisite training has been completed a safety manager submits an extensive application packet to obtain the CP-12 Professional Certificate.

The CP-12 certificate identifies Cho and Kim as "Level 1" safety professionals which means that they have the base level understanding of safety and occupational health programs.

They are ready to begin the next step of professional development that will transition them from safety inspectors and specialists to managing safety programs.

For Kim that means being assigned to an explosives-specific track; Cho will tackle risk management, Hansel said.

Now that the way has been cleared, the garrison is looking to send two more pairs of employee's from the Industrial Hygiene Office and the Fire Department.

CP-12 includes personnel from the following career groups: Safety, Industrial Hygiene, Health Physics, Safety Engineering, Fire Protection, Aviation, Gas & Radiation Detection, Chemical Plant Operation, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Student Trainees.