REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Through a host of civilian educational opportunities, the Army ensures the continual development of civilian capabilities and skills within the workforce that are combat multipliers for the Soldier force, said the deputy director of Human Resources for the Army Materiel Command.
Speaking at the AMC Career Program Managers Winter Virtual Summit, AMC G-1 Deputy Director Carlen Chestang said the Army Career Program serves as a resource for the development of the civilian workforce.
“Army Civilians serve alongside our service members to provide operational, logistical and administrative support to the mission,” Chestang said.
“No matter what field they work in – technical, management, finance, law, engineering, medical, communications and others – every civilian is aligned to a career program. The Career Program managers in each career field have a mission to provide training and other opportunities to develop knowledge, capabilities and skills within our civilian workforce that are needed to sustain the Army mission.”
Career Program managers, Chestang said, are essential to ensuring civilians are equipped to be effective in their support to the Army mission. They guide and direct civilians through professional development; set standards of excellence and ensure civilian development is aligned with the needs of civilian employee’s functional managers.
Recently, the Army’s Career Program was restructured, consolidating 31 of the 32 career programs into 11 career fields that complement each other. Chestang said Career Program managers should encourage the implementation of seven keys to success as outlined by Lisha Adams, the executive deputy to AMC’s commanding general. Those are: providing acknowledgement, recognition and awards; providing immediate feedback; utilizing Learning Management Systems; encouraging individual mentoring and coaching; identifying soft skills needs including communication and teambuilding; implementing cross-agency development programs; and continuing to seek developmental opportunities.
“This realignment gives us the opportunity to be more successful by providing more developmental opportunities within career programs and by providing better training opportunities,” Chestang said.
The Army Career Program is part of the Army Civilian Career Management Activity, established October 2020 to combine career programs with civilian training and leader development, and G-1 Civilian Personnel as part of the Civilian Human Resources Agency. ACCMA is responsible for enterprise-wide talent management processes to acquire, develop, employ and retain Army Civilian talent, and for delivering enterprise-wide talent management programs.
“ACCMA focuses on a more active role in how we develop and manage our civilian workforce,” said Edward Emden, director of the Army Civilian Career Management Activity, Civilian Human Resources Agency.
ACCMA and the Army People Strategy and the civilian Implementation Plan work to optimize the contributions of the civilian workforce by transforming workforce planning and management, modernizing civilian talent acquisition, evolving career programs to be integral to the people enterprise and building world-class supervisors.
“For the first time, we are actually marketing for civilian employees. There’s a lot we can do to expand the civilian talent pool,” Emden said. “Career Program managers can get much more involved in recruiting.”
The scope of a Career Program manager’s responsibilities begins with marketing, recruiting, hiring and onboarding employees; and continues with workforce planning, career planning, performance alignment, enhanced training and education, impactful experiences; managing succession, developing world-class supervisors and encouraging work-life balance. Career Program managers are assigned to manage the outcomes of career programs assigned to the following 11 career fields: Science, Engineering, Analysis; Technology; Construction Engineering; Logistics; Installations; Medical; Security and Intelligence; Human Capital and Resource Management; Education and Information Sciences; Contracting; and Professional Services.
“Since these career fields were stood up October 1, 2020, we have seen a lot of synergy and great effort in terms of what we can do to be more effective and efficient,” Emden said.
“There are pockets of excellence in various career programs that we can exploit enterprise wide. We need to focus on further integrating efforts to better serve our Civilians. It is really important to give civilians an opportunity to progress in their career. The Army should be facilitating opportunities for all civilians to go as high in their organization as their talents and skills will take them.”
The Army Career Development Program uses entry-level civilian training and development programs to retain a pipeline of well-trained, capable and diverse civilian personnel, with the Pathways Internship Program for entry-level new hires and the Presidential Management Fellows Program for advanced and experienced new hires.
“It is important to replenish the bench by allowing folks coming in at entry level to get the training to learn about occupations and most importantly about the Army,” said Ed David, Army Career Development Program Manager, Civilian Career Management Activity, Civilian Human Resources Agency.
“The return on investment is very high. We take employees at the entry level, provide them with two years of training and then add them to a civilian workforce that is able to do the job in support of Soldiers. The result is commands get an employee at the journeyman level who is ready to work.”
During the half-day summit, the Career Program managers also obtained updated information on the Senior Enterprise Talent Management/Enterprise Talent Management programs, and the Defense Acquisition Workforce.