FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Work is currently under way to renovate the ground floor of the Army Continuing Education and Training Center to house even more educational opportunities for the Fort Rucker community.

The center currently offers access to educational programs from a number of universities, including Embry-Riddle University and Troy University, as well as a General Educational Development diploma program through Enterprise State Community College.

"Our school-trained counselors have military experience, advanced degrees and firsthand knowledge of military school funding programs," Randy McNally, ACES supervisory education services specialist, said. "We are able to see things as Soldiers do, regarding education, and guide them accordingly. We also have a fully developed assessment program to help individuals who are having a hard time getting started and following through with their educational goals. We also have limited foot traffic due to the relatively small population of the base, allowing us to take our time with customers and provide thorough, tailored counseling."

Services available through ACES include:

- Education and career counseling by professionally trained counselors;
- Career interest and skill assessment inventories, coupled with results counseling;
- Functional Academic Skills Training, FAST Class (A classroom-based, instructor-led academic remediation course designed to prepare soldiers to retake the AFCT test to improve their GT scores);
- A multi-use learning center/computer lab for customers (no CAC required for access) that family members can use, as well as military members;
- Army personnel testing services (SIFT, AFCT, DLAB, DLPT, OPI, TABE, Praxis) -Dantes testing services (FAA, ACT, SAT, MSSC, E-Exams);
- A separate testing center for non-military affiliated tests, such as CLEP and DSST (college credit exams);
- Financial aid assistance and resources;
- Army Tuition Assistance counseling and approval;
- On-post colleges (Embry-Riddle, Troy, Central Texas), off-post colleges (Wallace Dothan, Wallace Opp) all online accessible schools;
- Access to and assistance with the GoArmyEd tuition assistance portal;
- Guidance and training for transitioning soldiers planning to further their education;
- GI Bill/Army College Fund/loan repayment program information and application assistance; and
- Assistance with other semi-education-related programs like OCS, Green-to-Gold, COOL and Skillport.

According to McNally, ACES is open to Soldiers, family members, retirees, veterans and DOD employees Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"A college degree can help Soldiers in their military careers and give them a better chance at getting a good post-service job," he said. "Education is the foundation for any advancement in and around the military. Military members and their families need to get started on or further their education in order to secure their futures."

One tool Soldiers can use to boost their military career, according to McNally, is the FAST class.

"The FAST class offers classes in basic math, reading, vocabulary, and study and test-taking skills designed to prepare students to retake the active duty version of the ASVAB test and prepare students for college classes," he said. "It is available to all military members with a GT score of 109 and below. The course goes for three weeks from 8 a.m. to noon. Two FAST classes are offered at Fort Rucker each quarter."

ACES also offers a multi-use learning facility with access to computers (without CAC cards), the Internet (both military and commercial sites), CAC card readers, print/scan/copy accessibility, study space and study materials.

McNally said Soldiers now have invaluable access to new resources.

"The DOD has agreed to fund Soldiers' use of Tutor.com, which is a live tutoring service that uses professional tutors to give one-on-one instruction in over a dozen academic areas," he said. "The website is www.tutor.com/military. The Fort Rucker ACES education center is also restructuring their facilities allowing academic institutions to expand their programs. They will have larger classrooms to provide better classroom environments."

For more information on services available through the education center, call 255-2378.