KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany— U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz recently unveiled its new Rheinland-Pfalz University, a training and development program for all Installation Management Command Directorate – Europe civilian personnel with the garrison.
The program will function similar to an actual university, and is the garrison’s way of formalizing the local education process to build a wide variety of training opportunities in one place.
“In its simplest form, RPU is Rheinland-Pfalz professionals teaching Rheinland-Pfalz professionals,” said Gary Burton, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation director, who also serves as RPU Chancellor. “It’s not just a website where you click through the pages. Instead, you’re learning from someone you know, building connections, and we’re all learning together.”
RPU provides leadership and knowledge continuity within the garrison. According to Joshua Hampton, RPU supervisory training instructor, the garrison will see a considerable amount of its workforce retiring or moving on in the next few years, and the knowledge and experience going with them is invaluable.
“RPU is the garrison’s way to retain some of the departing knowledge and provide leaders with ample opportunities locally,” said Hampton. “Training employees at a local level year-round ensures that our workforce is mission ready at all times.”
The new program also features the added benefit of students interacting and learning from each other. For Hampton, this gives garrison personnel a greater opportunity to “learn by doing” and provides opportunities for growth through interactions.
“Online training alone simply cannot replace the knowledge sharing taking place in a traditional adult-learning classroom environment,” said Hampton. “RPU ensures employees have pertinent and relevant training consistently offered to them.”
Though the program was initially intended to simply fill the knowledge gap through changes of personnel, RPU has increased its reach with courses for supervisors and new leaders through the School of Supervision, and technical courses for all personnel through the Technical Institute.
RPU’s School of Supervision curriculum offers courses for all levels, ranging from introduction to USAG RP and instruction on leadership styles, to advanced courses in Equal Employment Opportunity and communication.
“The supervisor courses are not replacing the required courses from Army Learning or IMCOM, but are an extra opportunity for supervisors to hone their leadership skills locally and in an in-class format with their colleagues,” said Hampton.
The RPU Technical Institute curriculum also lists several courses, ranging from introductory to advanced Microsoft Office Suite, to marketing and public speaking.
When asked how RPU will ultimately help the local workforce, Hampton responded with one word: readiness.
“We are here to support the mission – this has always been and will always be our number one priority as Army civilians overseas,” said Hampton. “By ensuring that our civilian workforce retains critical knowledge to move forward and by setting them up for success, we enhance everyone’s morale, well-being, and quality of life.”
RPU staff hopes to recruit dedicated professionals for the various courses. Local experts in their field are also invited to join RPU as adjunct instructors to share their knowledge with those interested.
“A major sustainability factor for RPU will be recruiting a strong cadre of adjunct faculty,” said Burton. “The garrison can leverage the knowledge base of its current civilian workforce, and, in turn, bolster their visibility as they explore new opportunities and share knowledge.”
Burton adds that any individual looking at the list of courses and thinking they know too much about the subjects to enroll, should think about signing up to teach a course to pass on their expertise.
For more information on the RPU curriculum and how to sign up, or for details on how to share your knowledge with garrison staff, contact the Rheinland-Pfalz University here.