Army Materiel Command civilian leaders of the Army's 31 career programs spent two days learning about personnel reform initiatives, sharing best practices and discussing what it means to be a ready Army civilian.

The Career Program Managers Summit brought together about 70 command and activity managers from across the enterprise in Huntsville, Alabama, Aug. 28-29, hosted by AMC's Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, G-1, Max Wyche.

Army Materiel Command's 50,000 civilians make up 96 percent of the organization's total employees, and comprise more than a quarter of the Army's civilian workforce.

In 2010, the Army transitioned all civilian employees into one of 31 career programs, and renewed emphasis on career program management. AMC has Command Career Program Managers at the headquarters, and Activity Career Program Managers at each major subordinate command. Guided by Army Regulation 690-950, they facilitate the training, education and professional development of the civilians in their career program.

"Your functional roles are extremely important," said AMC Executive Deputy to the Commanding General Lisha Adams. "You know the skills and competencies required to perform your functions. Your experiences will help guide what our careerists need to do for the future."

From streamlining human resources and personnel management through a cloud-based system, to decreasing the number of pay systems across DOD, Paula Patrick, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civilian Personnel, briefed the managers on multiple reform initiatives underway.

"We see career programs as a fundamental way of getting things done and communicating with civilian personnel," said Patrick.

Attendees also heard from the Army's Chief of Civilian Training and Leader Development Division, G-3/5/7, Lisa Rycroft, who challenged Career Program Managers to think more strategically about training.

"We have to get better at matching training requirements to Army needs and priorities," she said. "The goal is to train the right people on the right skills at the right time."

Ultimately, the summit was intended to share best practices and create some equity in the way career programs are managed across the enterprise, said Wyche. The goal was to arm managers with information, contacts and resources to help their careerists succeed.

"We need your functional expertise to help lay down a path for our civilian workforce," Adams said. "It's about more than hiring the right person, but we also have to ensure they are trained and have the right path to follow along their careers."