Fort Leonard Wood’s JEDI program now accepting applications

By Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs OfficeSeptember 5, 2023

Members of Fort Leonard Wood's fiscal year 2022 Junior Executive Development Initiative program pose for a photo outside the Chemical Defense Training Facility while learning about Fort Leonard Wood's role in Army training. Applications for the coming fiscal year JEDI class will be accepted through Sept. 22.
Members of Fort Leonard Wood's fiscal year 2022 Junior Executive Development Initiative program pose for a photo outside the Chemical Defense Training Facility while learning about Fort Leonard Wood's role in Army training. Applications for the coming fiscal year JEDI class will be accepted through Sept. 22. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Facilitators with U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood’s Junior Executive Development Initiative, commonly called JEDI, are now accepting applications for the program’s next class, set to start in October.

Farrah Overman, a workforce development specialist here, who has been involved with Fort Leonard Wood’s JEDI since 2019, said participants learn many new skills throughout the year-long program, such as communication, leadership and self-confidence.

“Each year, I get to watch individuals grow, both professionally and personally,” Overman said.

The JEDI program runs from October to September, following the fiscal year calendar, and is designed to familiarize individuals with how the Army functions and, specifically, how a garrison functions, Overman said.

“In addition to that, each person will have opportunities to self-reflect, be a part of a team, learn different styles of leadership, expand administrative knowledge and successfully complete a project,” she said, adding the program is open to everyone on Fort Leonard Wood.

Throughout the first half of the year, Overman said participants will have chances to reflect on discussion topics. Some past topics included becoming a person of influence, personal accountability, management versus leadership, fostering a positive workplace culture, building trust, time management and setting goals.

The second half of the year gives participants opportunities to pick group and individual projects, Overman said.

Participation and commitment are key to getting the most out of the program, Overman said.

“When individuals commit to the program, they will start expanding on what they already know and learn how to put what they are learning into action,” she said.

Sean Thompson was part of the Army Fellows program here — an Army developmental program, set up to attract, recruit and hire top civilian talent — when he signed up for JEDI in 2021. Now a program analyst for the Directorate of Public Works Business Operations and Integration Division at Camp Zama, Japan, Thompson said the opportunities JEDI provides to gain practice interacting with senior leaders are invaluable.

“I was able to present the decision brief for our final project to the (deputy garrison commander),” Thompson said. “It’s always good to get practice in giving a brief and/or presenting in front of leadership.”

In addition to the interaction with leaders here, Thompson said he appreciated having time set aside during the duty day for reflection — and to have the JEDI facilitators available to provide guidance and answer questions.

“You get back what you put into it,” Thompson said of JEDI.

Beyond attendance at the weekly meetings — which run an average of about two hours — the expectation is that every person “be better when they exit the program than when they begin the program,” Overman said.

“I make it my mission and my personal expectation to ensure that happens in some way,” Overman said. “For some, it’s public speaking they have issues with; for others, it’s how to make a stronger team in the workplace. No matter what, I want each one to be better.”

All employees can benefit from being a JEDI member, Overman said.

“Each person, no matter the experience or civilian grade, will bring something to the table,” she said. “Each person learns not only from the instructors of the classes but from the experiences of individual members.”

Applications for the coming fiscal year’s JEDI will be accepted until Sept. 22, and should be submitted here.

Overman said applicants should have their resume ready to be uploaded through the link. Once the application is submitted, an email will be sent to the applicant’s supervisor requesting permission for the applicant to join.

“I am very proud of this program and how far it has come,” Overman said. “When we take the time and effort to build our workforce, it becomes a place people want to come to. This program helps to make Fort Leonard Wood the installation of choice.”

The first meeting for the new class will start at 10 a.m. Oct. 12 at Countee Hall, Bldg. 2101. Call Overman at 573.596.4123, or email farrah.l.overman.civ@army.mil for more information on joining JEDI.