Workforce development is a necessity, according to Jason Richardson, Security Assistance Command training management specialist. Like many organizations, USASAC is developing its next generation workforce.
Many of the people with more than 30 years of experience working security assistance and foreign military sales are retiring or considering it.
"We make sure that we send people to training so that they are technically proficient, and gain required leadership skills or interpersonal skills," Richardson said.
Workforce development involves the mentorship of employees, as well as establishing training plans for these specific individuals. USASAC's workforce development program has three specialists who work together as a team. Richardson characterized the training as two parts.
"There is the professional training which is very job specific, and then there is the skills training which is centered around making you a better team member or leader, such as interpersonal skills or conflict mitigation skills," he said.
One development program used by USASAC during the last few years is the Rotational Assignment Program, managed by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. It that allows individuals to work in positions throughout the security assistance enterprise so they can build their knowledge of how other enterprise organizations and employees support the FMS process.
However, the workforce development and training staff don't simply focus on the current USASAC employees. They work hard on training new employees, as well as preparing the next generation.
Two processes being used for development at USASAC are job shadowing and local developmental hires.
The job shadow program focuses on allowing students interested in working for USASAC an opportunity to be paired with an employee or office at USASAC to learn what that section does. It also allows the job shadow participant to decide if the work is a good fit for the participant's skills.
Local developmental hires are individuals who are employed by USASAC but are not assigned to a specific field or section. These individuals are allowed to temporarily work in the various directorates and staff offices at USASAC. Much like job shadowing, it allows the new employee to try different jobs and learn more about their aptitudes.
Devin Simmons is a student trainee who joined USASAC last fall while also attending Jacksonville State University, where he is a rising senior majoring in public relations.
"I am supporting the INDOPACOM (Indo-Pacific Command) Regional Directorate," Simmons said. "This has provided me an opportunity to work in a professional environment and I have also learned how Army logistics works."
Simmons said he appreciates the experience, specifically citing the unique perspective gained by working with foreign allies and partners.
These workforce development programs give new student interns, possible future hires and even recently hired employees the chance to start a career in the field that best suits them.
"Once the employee has a field or profession identified, we facilitate training," Richardson said.
Richardson refers to the two types of training as the "total employee concept." He also emphasized that developing and training employees involves the supervisor.
"While the employee may take the initiative for the training, it is the supervisor who approves. But the supervisor should also be recommending training based on the employee's performance and future development," he said.
Richardson also noted that the security assistance career program is being further professionalized with a certification program similar to what the acquisition field program requires. The requirements for the security assistance certification are being developed at the Department of Defense level by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
"USASAC's workforce development ensures we are postured for the future workload and mission," Richardson said.