By Robert Dozier, U.S. Army Installation Management CommandJuly 12, 2017
Joint Base San Antonio (July 11, 2017) - - The Department of the Army sent Career Program 26 professionals to meet manpower and force management employees for a one-day session at historic Fort Sam Houston Theatre, to encourage and enhance their career progression. The CP26 Road Show sponsored through the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, is intended to leverage their online resources in a way that shapes the future of the workforce.
"The road show addresses more than just the resume and the interview," said Beryl Hancock, Chief of the Manpower, Policy and Programs Division and Chief of the CP26 Proponency Office. "This is kind of my 'let's shake 'em up' where I lay out the pathways [for the attendees] -- they just have to choose the pathway they want."
The discussions involved primarily the 2,900 CP26 community and focused on the Army Civilian Toolkit, which includes the Army Civilian Training, Education and Development Systems (ACTEDS) plan for the career field, how to apply for professional developmental opportunities, and the Army talent management programs.
"As the community of professionals is aging, many near retirement age, I tell them 'come on, figure out what it is you want, set your GPS and get yourself there,'" said Hancock. "They are their own best personnel manager. I can lay out the opportunities, but they have to have the appetite and the drive to get there."
The session started with introductions, where the attendees got a chance to reveal where they worked and their history with the Army. Several were from the U.S. Army Installation Management Command's G8 Division, Brook Army Medical Center, MEDCOM, and as far away as Fort Hood.
"I encourage all participants to the road show to ask the tough questions. Our doors are always open," said Hancock. "Use our email inbox firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer their questions on CP26 or any other career path."
Each employee's individual development plan is as important to the Army as it is to the person attending the presentation.
"Figure out what it is you want. Every job is important in the Army," said Hancock. "What do you want to be, where do you want to go? Is it preparing yourself for advancement? Is it preparing yourself for leadership opportunities? Is it just being the best Army employee you can be?"
Every career field in Army has an ACTEDS plan from entry level to senior, including a career program mission and vision, key positions and competencies, functional training and education opportunities, and professional development assignments.
Attendees were invited to meet afterwards for one-on-one career advice.
"In our 15-minute career counseling session, we talk about what they've done, and then we talk about what they want to do. Then I'll tell them what I think the best way to go about getting there," said Michele Davis, Career Program 26 from headquarters, Department of the Army G1. "We're hoping to have a variety of people representing different career programs, primarily manpower and force management professionals, but we hold hands with other resource managers, that would be CP11 comptrollers and CP10 representing the HR community."
Even though CP 26 information is available widely through electronic means, such as on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/ArmyCP26 and online at http://www.dvidshub.net/unit/usacp, G-1 has been doing the road show for about two years.
"The road show takes us all over the Army, speaking to anyone who works for the Army. We found that the best way to reach people is face-to-face and have the one-on-one conversations," said Davis. "We get a lot of positive feedback and as a result, we've developed a really robust communication portfolio.
"One of the most interesting experiences I've had was with group career counseling, where the participants are peer-reviewed. In this case we had a group where one senior person wanted to be seen as a leader, but the others in the group did not see her as a leader, just yet.
"Through counseling, we were able to advise her that it was time she should work on her leadership presence. It's one thing to do great work, but in order to be a leader, you have to be seen by your peers as a leader, and respect you and believe in what you are saying and doing. We gave her some advice on how to establish her leadership presence."
According to Davis, one of the best ways for the individual to grow in the Army is self-assessment.
"Know your own strengths. For me, I am an Army mom, a Department of the Army Civilian and an Army spouse. I love the Army and I think there is honor in everything that we do.
"So my first question during every career counseling session is 'what do you love doing?' Follow your passion. Let's figure out how to get you there. Together, we're going to find your strengths and capitalize off it, because you are best suited for the Army when you are doing what you love. Then you have the passion."
"Be honest with yourself about what you want in your career," said Hancock. "Do it for you, for the Army, for the nation, and most importantly, for the Soldier we serve."
Reaction to the road show was positive, with some attendees realizing the future was in their own hands.
"I learned today that I really need to take another look at my resume -- it's not as fresh as it should be, and I should take a look at my IDP," said Catherine Thornburg, manpower analyst for U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, on Fort Sam Houston. "If anything, this day-long session made me realize that I've been sitting back and I need to put in a little more of the pro-activeness and get more involved and take control of my career."
The Army encourages employees from every career path to develop themselves.
"We were notified [of the CP26 seminar] by our higher headquarters and MEDCOM (the U.S. Army Medical Command) and as soon as we received it, our leadership was very encouraging," said Thornburg. "They had no problem with every analyst in the office attending the seminar. They are big on training and personal development."
"The invitation came through on an email, and our director encouraged all of us to go," said Michelle Boatwright, a resource management employee at Fort Hood. "I'm going back to Fort Hood and tell her it was a fantastic class and there are some things I going to look at to be prepared for the next grade. I never attended one of these [seminars] before. They gave me the keys I needed to hear - taking courses and updating my resume, which I haven't touched in a while, and all the other steps I need to get to the next level."
The CP26 mission is "to provide a cadre of Manpower and Force Management professionals, to develop, design, analyze and resource the Army's Operating and Generating forces in support of the National Military Strategy."
All Army civilians are mapped to one of 31 career programs, found at http://cpol.army.mil/library/train/acteds/.