By Master Sgt. David Eichaker, Michigan National GuardJanuary 15, 2020
LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan National Guard members now have another tool for enhancement of their military careers through an initiative recently developed through innovation, the General Technical Improvement Course (GTIC).
The GTIC, created by U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Laliberte, Michigan Army National Guard, is designed to help service members better their general technical score within the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test (ASVAB) and in turn, provide additional options for career progression and assignments.
Although similar to the Army's Functional Academic Skills Training (FAST) program, GTIC's unique name serves a primary purpose.
"General technical (GT) is the subcomponent of the ASVAB the military uses to distinguish between Officer Candidate School (OCS) or enlisted," said Laliberte. "Soldiers need a GT score of 110 or higher to become an officer."
The GTIC is appealing to service members who are interested in career broadening opportunities that require higher ASVAB scores.
"Soldiers have three motivations for going to this course," said Laliberte. "One is to get a GT score of 110 to become an officer or warrant officer." Other reasons include changing their MOS or attend military schools requiring specific scores.
Overall, the GTIC is creating immediate and tangible results that highlight the success of this opportunity. Prior to full implementation for fiscal year 2020, the program underwent a 12-month pilot program with positive results.
"Soldiers have an average increase score of 13 points on the general technical component of the ASVAB," said Laliberte. "The impact is significant as Soldiers who want to join the commissioned officer ranks will now have the opportunity to attend OCS."
Although several Soldiers have taken this course, one enlisted Michigan Army National Guard Soldier recently took advantage of this opportunity for career advancement and fulfilling a dream of becoming an officer.
"The GTIC course I signed up for was specifically to raise my GT score," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Karl Matthews, supply sergeant, 277nd Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Michigan Army National Guard.
After raising his GT score by 18% after completing GTIC, Matthews said he leaves for OCS in the near future to become an officer with a goal of being able to influence policies and work in logistics.
The former supply specialist-turned recruiter holds a bachelor's degree in special education but needed this five-day course allowing him to focus on the GT portion of the ASVAB in a distraction-free environment.
"I have studied (for the ASVAB) before but I wasn't getting the results on the practice tests," said Matthews. "It was a way for me to block everything out and strictly focus on taking the ASVAB test," he said.
Another benefit of the GTIC and increasing ASVAB scores can fall under retention. According to the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Strategic Plan, retention of Michigan Army National Guard Soldiers is a top priority.
"Soldiers do the same job for so long they can get burned out," said Laliberte. "The GTIC is a way to revitalize a Soldiers' career and retain great Soldiers."
Others agreed, highlighting the value of the GTIC program and how it can positively affect retention efforts.
"Retention is important to the success of the organization," said U.S. Army Maj. Kelly Marshall, Recruiting and Retention Battalion executive officer, Michigan Army National Guard. "We want to retain these highly trained and skilled Guard members to positively affect unit readiness and morale."