By Julia Bobick, USARECSeptember 20, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (Sept. 20, 2012) -- The general consensus among recent Recruiting Center Commander Course graduates is that the newly redesigned CCC is better preparing them to be leaders in small unit recruiting and the Army Recruiter Course, or ARC, is better preparing Soldiers for recruiting duty.
Several CCC students shared their experiences and views on both courses during a group interview at the schoolhouse in July near the end of their course.
"It's a one million percent improvement," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Romanoski, an assistant station commander in Pennsylvania who attended the ARC more than four years ago. "When I got to my recruiting station, while I was prepared with all the knowledge of the systems, I didn't have the practical application."
He said they made phone calls, and every lead made an appointment and every appointment conducted agreed to join -- nothing went wrong in the process, which is totally contradictory with what happens in the real world.
"There's a lot that goes wrong, especially when you are new recruiter," Romanoski said. He added the ARC is now much better at "preparing these young NCOs for what they are going to experience."
Students are learning all three roles in small unit recruiting, so they arrive at the stations more well-rounded; their skills are not concentrated in one area. Recruiter course students get a very good foundation of recruiting and they grow from it, according to Staff Sgt. Jessie Sapien of Millington, Tenn. This is their initial toolkit and they will get additional tools from their peers and leaders in their unit.
In addition, integrating them with the center commander course is also giving them a much better idea of the leaders they are going to have when they get to a station, according to Romanoski.
Center commander course students get realistic training running a center and NCOs get realistic training dealing with their center commander -- what to expect and how a center operates, said Sgt. 1st Class Yanitza Betances-Leger, an assistant station commander in California.
It also reinforces the teamwork aspect of small-unit recruiting starting at the schoolhouse.
It's a lot easier to foster teamwork when students know expectations of center commanders and they fully understand and could potentially step into the roles of every member on the team, according to Betances-Leger.
Staff Sgt. Aaron Hess, of Farmington, Mo., said the biggest difference he's noticed at the schoolhouse is a very different attitude among the students with whom his class interacted.
"Not all of them are happy about going to be recruiters, but they all seem much more open-minded about the opportunity and I think a lot of that has to do with the class integration," Hess said. "The last time many of them talked to a recruiter was when they joined the Army, so they have recruiter image stereotypes in their head from their recruiters."
Hess added that CCC students help change those perceptions through their interaction with the ARC students.
The center commander students said they are inundated with questions from the ARC students they interact with - and all agreed that's a great thing.
"It means they are interested in learning," said Betaces-Leger.
Students also get perspectives from various leaders from different areas of the country, not just their course facilitators, adding to a well-rounded training experience.
"These students are excited; I didn't have that feeling about recruiting at the end of the ARC when I went through," said Hess, adding that he would much rather reign in somebody with a lot of enthusiasm than struggle to motivate them.
New recruiters help change the morale of the station, Romanoski said.
They also have a better understanding of the small-unit recruiting and show up at stations with a more refined set of tools, according to Sapien. While his station has already completed the transition to small unit recruiting, he said recruiters coming from the schoolhouse now -- only learning small unit recruiting in such a realistic setting -- are instrumental in helping the command complete the transition to small unit recruiting and change mindsets of those still clinging to legacy processes.
"What I told our class is what you learn here, don't throw it away," Betances-Leger said. "When you go [to your station], you absorb what they are telling you and if you feel what you learned in school works better, then as an NCO you go and talk to your center commander or supervisor about it. You cannot be scared because someone is in charge of you, NCOs should be able to be leaders and say, 'Here's what we did in school that I think might work better - is it okay we try this?'"