USAREC Improves 79R Career Management

By Julia Bobick, Recruiting CommandJuly 3, 2012

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FORT KNOX, Ky. -- For the first time in Recruiting Command history career recruiters have an assignment branch of sorts that parallels the way the rest of the enlisted career management field (CMF) cells are set up in the U.S. Army Human Resources Command.

The four-person 79R Professional Development Cell in USAREC G-1, established about eight months ago, manages recruiters assigned inside and outside of USAREC, according to Rodney Berry, chief of the USAREC G-1 Military Personnel Management Division at the command's headquarters on Fort Knox. Recruiters can talk to these noncommissioned officers any time about future assignment possibilities and what's best for their careers.

"We are not here to replace the 79R mentors and role models in the field; we are here to provide our NCOs independent assignment advice and help them determine what's next -- and what's best -- for them and their careers," said Master Sgt. Steven Darbyshire, the NCO in charge of the team.

"We want to help NCOs understand the importance of and seek the challenging assignments it takes to be competitive, well-rounded leaders in Recruiting Command. We are here to help, mentor and supplement the advice from first-line supervisors; we want to ensure recruiters don't get stagnated, but we also don't sell sunshine and rainbows, we give them real, honest advice."

As an example, Darbyshire said they routinely emphasize to recruiters why it's a good thing for them to pack up their household goods and move their families within the command.

"It encourages cross-fertilization, builds multi-dimensional leaders and improves the entire command," Darbyshire said. "We encourage NCOs to seek out the assignments that will demonstrate their diversity as leaders and allow them to pass on lessons learned in another brigade."

The professional development cell is looking across the entire command and forecasting two or three moves ahead to first support the command's operational needs and second, support individual recruiters' career development.

"I believe 79Rs are fortunate to have a 79R branch focused on command readiness and the professional development of the 79R force," said Sgt. Maj. William Schindler, USAREC G-1. "I urge 79Rs to do two things to assist both themselves and the 79R branch. One is to keep their assignment preferences realistic, preferably one location per brigade and one special assignment. The other is to contact their assignment NCO nine to 12 months before their scheduled loss date to discuss assignment opportunities."

This is the command's first step in improving career field management and enabling NCOs to take charge of their own career paths, Berry said, because in the past, recruiters have had no representation or real input into their assignments, outside of the assignment preference list they can complete in the 79R preference application system.

"It's an avenue for recruiters to voice their desires; they are being heard."

So far, the team seems to be meeting NCOs' expectations across the command, according to Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Telepak, CMF 79 proponent sergeant major at the Recruiting and Retention School, who discusses career management issues and informally surveys students at the schoolhouse. He encourages NCOs to communicate with the professional development cell to ensure their desires are understood.

"I'm hearing many good news stories about the 79R cell," he said, adding that the advice he gives to every class he speaks to is for NCOs "to be proactive in managing their own careers."

The team, with a collective 47 years of experience in Recruiting Command, are the "guidance counselors" for all 79Rs across the command, available by email, phone or through their Facebook page. While they've received calls from several detailed recruiters, the team cannot help NCOs with assignments in other career fields, Darbyshire said; they will still have to call their own career field branch office for advice.

Related Links:

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USAREC 79R Professional Development Cell on Facebook

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