By Crystal Christian USAG Humphreys IMCOMNovember 13, 2009
USAG HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea - For the last several months 30 Soldiers in Charlie Company, 602nd Aviation Support Battalion have taken advantage of a free online program to accrue promotion points, earn college credits and make decisions about their futures.
The program is called Skillsoft and it provides more than 2,600 E-learning courses that can help people increase their education and training.
To date the Soldiers have completed over 1200 hours of Skillsoft training. They and their leaders understand that training, education and advancement are important in the Army and in their careers after they leave the Army.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers and www.JobWeb.com, in today's job market college graduates should seek jobs with the federal government because it is hiring in the top five degrees: accounting, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science and business administration and management.
The government is also looking for experienced professionals in their field.
Capt. Benjamin J. Van Meter, Commander, Charlie Company, 602nd, ASB knows firsthand how useful Skillsoft can be when Service members are taking on new tasks.
A psychology major in college, Van Meter used Skillsoft courses as he rose through the ranks as a signal officer.
"As a lieutenant, I used the courses as I entered a different job. The training was used to analyze and solve problems," Van Meter said.
Soldiers can earn promotion points through Skillsoft online training. Promotion points are awarded based on training hours. For every five hours of training, one promotion point is earned.
Sgt. Aleksey Kolyushin, Spc. Anthony Holt, Spc. Walter Jones and Cpl. Michael Underwood have all completed over 100 hours of training and earned more than 20 promotion points each. Cpl. William Rosebrock has earned 14 promotion points.
After arriving at USAG-Humphreys, Underwood found himself performing different tasks than he was used to in his Military Occupational Specialty 25L, cable and wire system installer and maintainer.
Underwood is in charge of unit training here and by using Skillsoft, he can stay current in his MOS. Underwood said that by using the training programs, he has learned things he did not know about his MOS; Skillsoft has also provided him with training he may not have received until promoted to sergeant or staff sergeant.
Skillsoft offers more than MOS training, students can learn another language or acquire business skills. The Rosetta Stone Foreign Language Library offers instruction in 31 languages. Underwood is using Rosetta Stone to learn Korean as well as taking marketing classes under the Business Skills Curriculum.
Underwood said Skillsoft gives him the advantage of working at his own pace and ensuring marketing is the major he wants to pursue in college. Skillsoft also offers testing and college curriculum for free, saving a Soldier's G.I. Bill for other courses.
Another advantage of the program, Underwood said, is the testing options.
"Skillsoft has subtest cumulating to final test which I think is better learning," he said.
This great, free opportunity is not just for the noncommissioned officer, Van Meter noted. The training can increase technical knowledge and professional development.
"It is an opportunity to anyone of all ranks. I used it as an officer," Van Meter said.
The Skillsoft program is available to Department of the Army active duty Soldiers, Army National Guardsmen, Army Reservists, Department of the Army Civilians and Department of the Army Local National employees. Visit http://usarmy.skillport.com for more information. Soldiers can also learn about certifications they need to prepare for entering the civilian workforce by visiting https://www.cool.army.mil.