For the first time, Recruiting Command will take a holistic approach to noncommissioned officer training and development from the moment NCOs receive notification of assignment to USAREC until the day they leave the command.
The new Recruiter Development Program, which the USAREC G3 Sustainment Training Division will begin implementing later this month and launch completely in October, is designed for corporals through first sergeants to continuously develop their leadership and functional skills.
Recruiting Command currently has the New Recruiter Program, which focuses on the critical tasks a new recruiter should master to be successful. Unfortunately, the current design can be redundant, time intensive and miss the essential training needs required for the Soldier, according to Phil Tabor, Chief of the Training Assessment and Sustainment Division. Beyond this point, it has been hit-and-miss whether current or past training programs met recruiters' developmental needs at all levels.
"In order to implement a program that meets the training and developmental needs for all our Soldiers, we have created the five-phase Recruiter Development Program," Tabor said.
Phase I, Pre-Assignment, consists of three distance learning modules that must be completed before the NCO arrives at the Recruiting and Retention School, and validated by the schoolhouse staff.
"We want to give Soldiers the opportunity to understand what they are walking into - this is our history, this is what you will do as a recruiter and this is what we expect," Tabor said.
The second phase is the seven-week resident Army Recruiter Course.
The third phase focuses on initial orientation and sponsorship. Incoming recruiters will have up to 30 days to ensure their families are established, household goods have arrived, children are enrolled in school and all the logistical, physical and administrative requirements are completed before they begin recruiting duties.
In the past, an orientation briefing and checklist were part of the new recruiter program. What often happened is new recruiter training and duties got in the way of taking care of families because station commanders were trying to accomplish both the training/duties and the Soldier's inprocessing simultaneously.
"The reason we made this a separate phase is to ensure nothing distracted us from getting the Soldier and his or her family squared away. We are now focused on doing the right thing for Soldiers and their families - ensuring they have great sponsorship and integration at their new location."
The command is also developing a reception and integration checklist that supports the Army's Sponsorship Program, Tabor added. The checklist is designed to assist leaders and sponsors in completing the reception and integration of recruiting Soldiers and their families.
Once they complete Phase III, they begin the four-stage Advanced Training Program (ATP), which is essentially the old New Recruiter Certification Program. A major difference between the New Recruiter Certification Program and the ATP is that the ATP is not a pass or fail program, he said.
Stage I, up to 30 days, focuses on assessing the recruiter's ability to successfully achieve a "T" (Trained) on six critical tasks recruiters need to master to be successful. The program has established performance measures to help the station commander, who is the primary trainer, assess and identify specific areas within each task that require refresher training. Stage II is for refresher training on any of the tasks the new recruiter did not receive a "T" rating.
"This is a progressive program that can be completed early," Tabor said. "It's not tied down to any concrete time line that dictates a recruiter must remain in a certain stage for a certain number of days. If the new recruiter is demonstrating his or her ability to perform the tasks to standard, then the station commander can move on to the next phase."
Another advantage of the program is that it will be built entirely into the Learning Management System (LMS), according to Tabor. Previously, the only way a leader could validate whether the training was occurring was to visually inspect the New Recruiter Handbook USAREC Pamphlet 350-2.
Leaders - from station and company to brigade level - can pull the data and see how many of their recruiters have completed the program, how each did on the individual tasks, what their ratings were and what refresher training has been conducted.
By the end of the fourth month of the ATP, Tabor said the recruiter should have completed and received a "T" (trained) rating in all six tasks, enabling him or her to move on to Stage III, Recruiting Operation Plan (ROP) Development. While developing a ROP is one of the six critical tasks, this stage gives recruiters 30 days to use the skills they learned and develop their own realistic ROP, which must be validated by the station commander and reviewed by the first sergeant
"It allows recruiters to put all the pieces together - to put everything they've learned about their market and time management to develop and implement an effective Recruiting Operation Plan to achieve their objectives."
The final stage is the post-resident test, which is a command tool designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the ATP and the program of instruction at the schoolhouse. It is not a tool to evaluate the Soldier's ability to perform tasks, according to Tabor.
Phase V centers on continuous development and sustainment training to increase the skills and abilities of individual recruiters by building on established foundations.
"We're following the same methodology as the Army in terms of the training process. Leadership training is the foundation of every skill level's training package," Tabor said. "Regardless of whether our NCOs stay on recruiting duty or complete their tours and return to their previous MOS, we have an obligation to take care of them and ensure they progress as NCOs so they are at least equal to or ahead of their peers as far as their leadership skills and capabilities."
This program is also designed to annually administer the Critical Skills Assessment Test (CSAT) to every Soldier E4 through E8, as well as medical recruiters.
"This will be the command's first assessment test that will give us an opportunity to systemically identify training needs all the way down to station level," he said. "The best thing is that leaders will have access to the data. Therefore, what we can do as a command - as well as at the subordinate leader level - is make adjustments to our training packages based on the results."
The ATP is planned for implementation by the end of the month. Those in the New Recruiter Certification Program will remain in it until they complete the program, and then move into Phase V.
"This program fits the command's future because everything is going to be built on a foundation of leadership and fundamental tasks, to include time management, prioritizing tasks, resiliency, and interpersonal communication, and it will support what they are learning in institutional training," Tabor said. "We're excited about it. This will give us an accurate assessment of the root cause of recruiting issues at the individual or unit level and facilitate our ability to develop training solutions based on these assessments."