By Ms Michelle Harlan (USASAC)June 20, 2011
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - When the Army Security Assistance Command moved its headquarters from Fort Belvoir, Va., to Redstone Arsenal as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decision, new job opportunities became available within the command. Around 35 percent of headquarters USASAC employees moved from Fort Belvoir which included all senior leadership. This has allowed the experienced leadership to mentor many of the new hires who have come to USASAC after its relocation to Redstone.
USASAC’s goal is to fill 10 percent of vacancies through developmental career positions available to college students. One University of Alabama-Huntsville student’s hiring through such a developmental program has not only given her real-world work experience but helped shape her future career ambitions.
Mia Morales was hired by USASAC last summer as an office automation clerk through the Student Temporary Employment Program and soon after converted to the Student Career Experience Program. The federal programs, whether temporary employment or internships, offer students the chance to gain valuable career exposure by the time they graduate from school.
Working with country program managers on the AFRICOM and EUCOM regional directorates at USASAC peaked Morales’ interest in learning the foreign military sales case process and training to become a CPM herself.
“I’ve always been interested in the military. Working as a CPM will give me the opportunity to work with several militaries around the world,” Morales said. USASAC supports foreign military sales cases for more than 150 countries.
“The international business and logistics classes I took as part of my major have helped with understanding how different countries do business,” she said.
Morales graduated from UAH in May with a degree in marketing. She believes her education will contribute to a career in the foreign military sales world. Just in the last four months, Morales began assisting her co-worker Sharon Spinks, a CPM in the EUCOM directorate, with the management of the Portugal foreign military sales program.
“It is very important to train young employees so that they are prepared to assume the responsibility of becoming a well-versed CPM,” Spinks said. “It is vital in passing on experience and knowledge to our young work force.”
Morales admits that getting used to her first government job has been a challenge, but likes the variety of opportunities it offers.
“I recommend other students who are interested in careers with the federal government apply for jobs through STEP or SCEP because it’s a great way to get experience while you are still in school,” Morales said.
As part of the “Army’s Face to the World,” both new and seasoned employees share their experiences and knowledge to ensure USASAC’s position as the Department of Defense’s premier security assistance organization.