There’s more than just a catchy tune in the classic Sheryl Crow song, “A Change Will Do You Good.” It also carries a message that stepping out of your comfort zone be a positive and rewarding experience, and that’s what the Army’s Developmental Assignment Program is all about.
The DAP is designed to support functional and leadership training, which is one of the essential pillars of Installation Management Command’s Service Culture Campaign: Leader Development.
The primary objective is to build and sustain agile and adaptable leaders while crafting a multi-skilled workforce committed to developing and delivering installation services for the Army community around the world – all in 90 days.
IMCOM’s Installation Directorate-Sustainment recently bid farewell to three DAPs who came south to Redstone Arsenal from north (Fort Drum, New York), west (IMCOM Pacific in Alaska) and east (IMCOM Europe in the Netherlands), all in different professional areas, but sharing the same goal: to operate in new environment to broaden their career experiences.
Jill Wandoloski, from Benelux, serves as an engineering project manager for the Benelux Directorate of Public Works. Here at ID-S, she served in Public Works Master Planning, the first Army civilian position she’s held outside of Europe.
“Since I have only worked for the Army in Europe, I thought this would be an opportunity to broaden my knowledge outside my OCONUS garrison and learn more about the CONUS operations of Public Works,” she said.
The experience proved to exceed her expectations, and she was surprised at the level of exposure she had to senior leader interaction and decision-making processes.
“I have learned an incredible amount while working at ID-S, both about my specific role in Master Planning as well as IMCOM and the Army as a whole. I have increased both my breadth and depth knowledge,” she said. “I have been very fortunate to have almost daily interactions with senior leaders in the organization.”
Gary Workman, an administrative officer for ID-Readiness at Fort Drum, applied for the program because he wanted to broaden his professional experience. Having served as a civilian in the Army for more than five years, with half of that time as an administrative officer, he saw this as an opportunity to enhance his understanding of the civilian personnel realm.
“It's a significant opportunity for all parties involved to leverage, he said. “The hosting organization benefits by having the chance to train, coach and mentor. The participating employee, in turn, can learn, grow and develop skills they may not have acquired otherwise.”
Annette Hannan came to ID-S from Fort Greely, Alaska, and leveraged the opportunity to cross-train, going into a resource management position from her usual job in Public Works as a business ops and integration division chief. Her hope was to gain insights and take back lessons learned to grow a stronger workforce back at her home installation.
“My main reason was to help my organization with ways of getting a workforce to a higher level of success for our mission, and to help the Army as a whole.” she said.
For those considering a DAP opportunity, all three professionals say it’s an experience well-worth the time and temporary duty assignment. All were pleasantly surprised at the reception and immediate immersion into the workplace they received as “temporary teammates” at ID-S headquarters.
“I’ve already recommended the program to several people,” Wandaloski said. “Working at a local level, it can sometimes be difficult to see how the pieces of IMCOM fit together and to understand what resources you have available, and this opportunity and being exposed to other functional areas in Public Works and beyond has really rounded out additional areas of my IMCOM knowledge.”
Workman said the unexpected level of camaraderie and cooperation left a lasting impression on me and reinforced the value of such developmental assignments in fostering professional growth and organizational synergy.
“The professionals were kind, and the hospitality was unbelievable,” she said. “They treated me like I was part of their family, and now I know what that song meant by ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’”
For more information on DAP, or other career development opportunities, contact your command’s Directorate of Human Resources office.