FORT DRUM, New York (Nov. 29, 2023) -- The 925th Contracting Battalion has joined a growing list of organizations participating in the Army-wide Career Skills Program providing transitioning service members with the opportunity to develop skills and experiences outside of their military occupation specialty to succeed in the civilian workforce.
Sgt. Elena Shapovalova began her participation in the Career Skills Program October 2023 with the Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Fort Drum, New York, while growing her skills with the MICC Simplified Acquisition Threshold Supply Procurement Program, or S2P2.
“This has been a great opportunity to be able to participate in an organization and work environment that has been outside of my own career field as a 68E Dental Specialist,” Shapovalova said. “I have worked with many great and knowledgeable people who have dedicated their time to teaching and mentoring me during my time at the contracting office.”
The 925th CBN is the first battalion in the MICC to participate in this program, paving the way for participation with future transitioning service members at Fort Drum and across installations co-located with a MICC office.
The Army Career Skills Program began in January 2013 with 14 of the first 16 graduating Soldiers hired into new civilian careers. The program was a success and has been expanding since that day. To date, in partnership with more than 4,000 employers, more than 40,000 Soldiers have completed one of the 225 programs hosted across 31 installations.
The position Shapovalova is working as an intern is the purchasing agent, career series 1105. She was selected through an application process that included a resume review and interview by the MICC Fort Drum command team. She was found to be well-qualified for both the purchasing agent and career series 1102 contract specialist positions, having earned her master’s degree in economics. The fast-paced acquisition environment maintains a busy schedule and a challenging work environment. S2P2 is credited for significantly reducing the procurement action lead time from approximately 27 days initially to an average of one day for delivery for federal government contract obligations through its online reverse auction marketplace.
“Leveraging the Army Career Skills Program is a 'win' for both the Soldier that is transitioning as well as the MICC,” said Lt. Col. Desiree Dirige, commander of the 925th CBN and MICC-Fort Drum. “Not only do we have the opportunity to set a transitioning Soldier up for success in the federal civilian workforce, but we also get to demonstrate how the MICC’s mission is critical in building ready formations and families.”
Shapovalova believes that participation in the Career Skills Program allows her and other interested Soldiers the opportunity to play a valuable role in the Army mission by providing indispensable support. She is scheduled to complete this program in early December.
“This will be great for people who are interested in pursuing a different type of work environment from their usual Army lifestyle. With time, people understand that being an active-duty Soldier is not for everyone and given an opportunity to support the warfighters from the other side by procuring mission-critical items and services is very rewarding,” she said. “This initiative opens up a new career field for other people like myself to hang up the uniform and support the Soldiers and family members in a different way.”
About the MICC
Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command consists of about 1,300 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. As part of its mission, MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, facilitate training in the preparation of more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.