By Francis Chung, Pentagram Staff PhotojournalistJuly 27, 2017
During a briefing held at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall's Town Hall July 25, members of the JBM-HH civilian workforce gained insights into the professional development opportunities in installation management available to them through the U.S. Army's Career Program 29 (CP-29).
One of 31 career programs in the Army civilian corps, CP-29 aims to provide an ongoing learning environment that empowers innovative and adaptive installation-management professionals through training, education and experience. It currently serves nearly 20,000 civilians employees from 24 commands and organizations, with 82 percent of participants coming from Installation Management Command (IMCOM).
The JBM-HH briefing was led by CP-29 Career Program Manager Tim Weathersbee, and was attended by approximately 15 staffers from various JBM-HH directorates who are current or prospective CP-29 careerists.
"Today, our goal really is to help these teammates understand how they can continue to grow and develop as professionals in the Army civilian corps, and to show them some methodologies they can use and also some specific opportunities they can take advantage of," Weathersbee said.
For those purposes, Weathersbee outlined resources offered through CP-29, including developmental assignments; competency-based on-site training; the funding of academic degree training, credentialing, and certifications through accredited colleges and universities; and short-term training in specific topics such as critical thinking, strategic planning, negotiation strategies and leadership development.
Weathersbee urged Army civilians to map out a clear career-development plan in consultation with their supervisors. He advised them to take honest stock of the competencies they display in their current employment, and to identify the gaps between their existing qualifications and those required for target positions to which they aspire.
CP-29, he emphasized, is specifically designed to help civilian workers close those competency gaps in order to advance their careers and better support service-wide Army readiness.
CP-29 Program Support Specialist Jorge Millet-Castillo gave a short presentation on how to navigate and utilize the web-based resources through which civilians can find and apply for CP-29 opportunities: the Army Career Tracker (ACT) career-management portal and the GoArmyEd education-management portal.
"If you want to go to training, you have to apply through GoArmyEd and before you apply to GoArmyEd you have to initiate your account on Army Career Tracker," Millet-Castillo explained.
He stressed the importance of properly filling out each application, including all required information, qualifications, performance ratings and supervisor endorsements.
In response to Millet-Castillo's observation that many CP-29 resources are chronically underutilized, Denise James, JBM-HH director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation noted that reduced funding and staffing have made it difficult for workers in her directorate to be afforded the scheduling flexibility often required for training opportunities.
"Training is a challenge for us, and the Army needs to look at that," James said. "My folks want to go to training, they want to grow. There needs to be some sort of assistance to help those folks who want the training."
Weathersbee acknowledged the problem, and replied that CP-29 is actively working to develop flexible training opportunities that do not have a set time or location.
"We're trying to find ways that we can help those folks," he said, citing examples such as a Certified Public Management course at Arizona State University that takes place entirely online.
At the end of the briefing, CP-29 Career Management Specialist John W. Thompson spoke on the CP-29 Installation Management Intern Program, which aims to support Army innovation and diversity by identifying and developing civilian leaders to strategically manage the rapidly changing environments of modern Army installations.
Thompson detailed the selection requirements of the highly competitive program, which admitted 10 interns out of a pool of 300 applicants in 2017. Admission to the two-year program requires U.S. citizenship, qualification at the GS07 level, and undergraduate degree with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 or an accredited graduate degree, along with other qualities such as sound character, leadership potential and problem-solving skills.
Afterwards, Weathersbee said he he was pleased with the interactive nature of the briefing.
"I'm glad that we had a conversation and that folks were willing to ask questions and shared their thoughts," he remarked. "They helped us identify some areas where we can help more, where we can improve and I think that we shared some information with them that will help them with their continued growth and development as Army civilians."
Pentagram staff photojournalist Francis Chung can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.