Three members of the 83rd U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Center's Readiness Training Academy recently returned from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where they provided training for nearly a dozen newly-hired U.S. Army civilians.

They traveled there to bring the classroom to the students.

With a base of operations situated in Skidgel Hall at Fort Knox, where Soldiers once learned to be tankers, the men represent scores of instructor-facilitators at the academy who annually train approximately 7,000 students to enhance unit readiness. Collectively, the academy offers 25 separate courses that range from one to three weeks in length.

The students at 7th Mission Support Command in Germany received the Army Reserve Civilian Entry Training course, or ARCET, a one-week course required for all newly hired civilian employees who, as a condition of their employment, also serve in the Army Reserve.

J. Scott Scholl, deputy commandant of the academy, said the intent of ARCET is to ensure all newly-hired military technicians, as they are known, are equipped with the knowledge needed to succeed.

"The ARCET course is an initial entry course that provides our Army civilians with a solid understanding of their benefits, many of the available resources that are out there, and … the rules, regulations and policies that govern the military technician program," said Scholl.

"-- anything that a civilian needs to know about their career," added David Peters, one of the three senior instructors responsible for teaching the course.

The course covers numerous in-depth areas of orientation, training and education to include employee rights, responsibilities, requirements, benefits and services.

"Other topics covered during the one-week course are the Army Reserve organization and structure, an overview of federal service, federal pay system benefits and services, the military technicians program, and career development," said Peters.

Scholl said newly hired military technicians need to be aware that they are expected to receive the course within the first six months of employment.

Scholl, Peters and General Jones, also a senior instructor for the ARCET course, have agreed to bring the classroom to employees in certain cases where the employees are unable to come to the classroom.

"We routinely send out mobile training teams, and those mobile training teams can teach the total Army wherever they are located across the globe," Scholl said. "It's often much more cost effective for two or three members of our instructional teams to travel to them versus a unit sending all of their people to us."

Scholl said they conduct much of their mobile training team time between established classroom cycles.

"What we have found is that when there is a little bit of what we call 'white space' on our training calendar -- when we have some free time when we don't have students in session -- units will contact us and say, 'Hey, I wasn't able to get my people in there; we have a whole bunch of us here; is there any way you guys would be willing to come to us and teach what you teach there?'" said Scholl. "That's when we often exercise a window of opportunity like we did recently with the 7th in Germany."

The Readiness Training Academy averages 19-24 mobile training teams per year covering a variety of training needs, such as mobilization, movement, physical security, training management and pre-command courses.

Although the ARCET course is designed to support military technicians, Scholl said the team is always prepared and able to train anybody who wants the instruction, including active component Soldiers, Reservists, National Guardsmen and even Army civilians who are not under the military technician program.

"We're extremely proud of our capability to support the training and education needs of the total Army," said Scholl.

Scholl stated the academy houses a full complement of instructor-facilitators who are fully qualified and equipped with decades of experience, quite often a military background supporting the specific expertise taught in many of the courses.

Peters, for example, is a retired first sergeant with over 24 active years of service and 14 years of instructional experience. Jones has 45 years of service under his belt, between retirement as a sergeant first class and Vietnam veteran, and his Army civilian service. He plans to retire in about a month.

"We are on the road to awesome," said Scholl, echoing the words of Lt. Gen. Charles Luckey, the chief of Army Reserve and commanding general of U.S. Army Reserve Command.

Scholl said Luckey's road to awesome passes through the corridors of Skidgel Hall.

"All of it provides [unit] readiness, and that is the number 1 priority in our Army right now -- unit readiness," said Scholl. "That is our mission statement. We build readiness through training."

For more information about attending the ARCET course, or one of the other 24 courses offered at the academy, call (502) 626-2575.