FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz.- For many Information Technology college students, internships can be a starting-point to a rewarding career, in such fields as computer, data and engineering science. In addition, interns often bring new ways in thinking along with the latest academic and industry trends.
Recently, the Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) has capitalized on the benefits of recruiting, training and retaining interns. According to Yonghee Woodall, NETCOM G-5 Deputy Director NETCOM began recruiting and placing interns within the command a few years ago.
“Under Maj. Gen. John Baker, former NETCOM commanding general, there were over 100 intern hiring actions for NETCOM worldwide between 2017 and 2018,” said Woodall.
Not only has NETCOM recruited interns, they have recruited a diversely talented group of people in recent months.
“In the past 24 months NETCOM created intern/fellow positions which include; Computer Engineers, Electronics Engineers, Computer Scientists, IT Specialist, Intelligence Specialists, Operations Research Analysts, HR Specialists, and Security Specialists,” said Michelle McCaa, NETCOM, Human Resources Specialist.
“As of today, more than 250 intern positions have been authorized since the inception of the program,” said Crystal D. Fetting, NETCOM Intern Program Manager.
According to Andrew Boswell, NETCOM, G-1 Civilian Talent Manager, the intern program is part of a robust recruitment effort.
“NETCOM’s Intern Program is a strategic Human Capital initiative to attract entry-level personnel to join the ranks of NETCOM professionals and gain skills, competencies and experiences that are indispensable to accomplishing our mission.”
“Our program is open to all skilled applicants including current and graduate students in college, university and other qualifying educational institutions with paid opportunities to work as NETCOM Civilians and explore NETCOM careers,” said Boswell.
One of the many individuals, who recently benefited from the NETCOM intern program, is NETCOM Computer Engineer, Dylan Baker.
A native of Tempe Arizona, Dylan played sports in high school, played the cello and competed with the chess team. And prior to coming to NETCOM Dylan earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Arizona State University, at the Tempe Campus, and graduated summa cum laude. He was part of Barrett, the Honors College and completed the honors program with a thesis project on Sample Preparation Device for Testing of Ice-Metal Interfacial Fracture.
Dylan describes how he was recruited into the NETCOM intern program.
“In August of 2018, I was contacted by recruiters who had seen my resume on an ASU, (Arizona State University) job board. They told me I fit the bill and asked if I wanted to learn more about it.”
“I think I needed to have a bachelor’s degree in STEM from an Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET), accredited university, and be able to successfully clear the background checks. I don’t really remember the specifics, the recruiters basically said you check all the boxes already,” said Mr. Baker.
Dylan said, once hired, the accession and onboarding process at NETCOM went quickly.
“I started in December 2018, after receiving a surprising email asking if I could start next Monday. ‘I asked that I be able to give my employer a two weeks’ notice.” [NETCOM agreed.]
“Then, after driving from Tempe, Ariz., to Sierra Vista the Saturday before my entrance duty date, I visited the post, got my pass, and on Monday visited the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) bright and early. Afterwards, I drove to Greely and then was escorted to the G-5,” said Mr. Baker.
“I was quickly pulled in to the existing projects on the team, and I also had some training to get up to speed on, like the Security+ certification.”
Dylan also describes some of the things he had to accomplish during his onboarding.
“A good chunk of my time was spent on training, both the mandatory training for all DA Civilians as well as some trainings specific to the job and the intern program. Everything else was planning work groups, Military Decision Making Process (MDMP), drafting and editing orders, etc…,” said Baker.
Not only did Dylan onboard quickly, he also excelled in the program and became a Department of the Army (DA) Civilian within a year of starting his internship.
“Part of the intern program is finding a more permanent home for the Interns at NETCOM, and G-5 leadership took the opportunity to move an intern into a permanent position,” said Mr. Baker.
“Essentially, at the same time as the [NETCOM] G-5 was re-organizing [separating from the G-3] and gaining the Advanced Capability Engineering Directorate (ACED) as a division, [NETCOM] was looking to fill various TDA slots within the organization.”
“In addition, we were also working on a project to stand up the new Emerging Requirements Validation Management Framework (ERVMF) and needed someone to fill the role of Requirements Manager. This shortened my participation in the intern program a little bit, as I was really only an intern for 12 months rather than a full 2 years,” said Mr. Baker.
Dylan’s former high-level reviewer, Dr. Ron Richards, NETCOM CBO Director explains how Mr. Baker’s position was created.
“We aligned Mr. Baker’s progressive promotions, education, experience and skills gained thru developmental assignments to craft major duties within a GS-12 2210 Position Description (PD). The PD was subsequently updated to align with new responsibilities associated with the NETCOM Emerging Requirements Validation Board (ERVB).”
Dylan now serves as a permanent DA Civilian at NETCOM as a result of his enrollment and successful fulfillment of objectives while serving as an intern for the NETCOM G-5.
“We at the G-5 are lucky to have someone like Dylan, who started out as an intern. He is a fast learner and a proactive individual. He is not afraid of taking on a new project and offer his support if needed,” said Woodall.
“Dylan is currently leading a big project with the ERVB. In addition, he is leading the Army Audit Agency (AAA) Convergence effort. He is leading the major effort for establishing a foundational process for the command wide implementation of the ERVB.”
“Although there were a lot of moving pieces from planning to execution, Dylan is doing an outstanding job getting this process off the ground and continues to facilitate via the initial ERVB events which include coordinating Cyber Needs Forms (CNF) from different Regional Cyber Centers (RCCs) to the shark tank event which leads up to the final ERVB approval,” said Woodall.
Overall Dylan is very excited to be part of NETCOM and offers this advice to anyone interested in being an intern.
“I would say that it’s well worth it for those who have the interest in computer security, network architecture, and computer science or engineering,” said Mr. Baker.
NETCOM continues to seek out and recruit talented individuals to complement its professional workforce as the G-1, Talent Manager explains.
“NETCOM continues to seek new talented personnel who have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide meaningful and impactful work in the Department of Defense. The need for interns/fellows continues to rise as they bring a new fresh perspective to the workplace,” said Boswell.
“Currently, the need for an intern/fellow is determined by the subcommand, division, or hiring official. As long as the command has an approved over-hire or permanent authorization, a strategic plan to permanently place the intern upon conclusion of their internship/fellowship, and a training plan in place prior to recruitment, no justification is required.”
NETCOM offers internships to college graduates and students too; however, each type of intern has different requirements depending on their intern status.
“NETCOM interns/fellows are already initially hired as full-time DA Civilians. Interns are full-time permanent Civil Service employees, and enjoy the benefit package provided to federal employees. This includes paid vacations, sick leave, health and life insurance, a retirement plan, a 401(k) equivalent plan (with a matching contribution plan) and paid federal holidays. In addition, interns have the opportunity to work at many locations throughout the United States and the world,” said Boswell.
“However, if an intern is hired as a student into a temporary position while working to complete their educational requirements, provided they are a good fit for NETCOM, they may be non-competitively converted to a permanent authorization. This process is done through the local CPAC; whereby the intern may be required to provide additional information (i.e., updated resume, etc.) in order to finalize the conversion.”
The recruitment of talented personnel remains a top priority for NETCOM because according to Major General Maria B. Barrett, NETCOM Commanding General, “People are our most precious resource, and NETCOM’s greatest strength.”
Learn more about the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command at netcom.army.mil