If one of the top professionals in your field was just a phone call away, what would you ask him or her? Or if you had the chance to try another job, which career would you explore?
Two workforce development programs within the Installation Management Community allow employees to do just that. The Developmental Assignment Program (DAP) and the Headquarters Centralized Mentoring Program (HCMP) will soon be advertising opportunities and accepting applications from ambitious IMCOM employees seeking to expand their career horizons, improve leadership skills and give back to the installation management community.
Per OPORD 12-295, opportunities for DAP positions will be announced around Oct. 15 and applications will be accepted through Nov. 26. The HCMP will be announced in an OPORD in November. Contact your local Workforce Development Office more information. Information regarding HCMP opportunities and applications will follow.
The program is open to active duty O-5 and O-6 mentors, Civilian GS-14 and GS-15 mentors, E-7 and E-9 mentees and GS-11 and GS-13 mentees, who are selected competitively by a board of IMCOM, OACSIM and Region representatives.
The DAP is designed to develop breadth across the full spectrum of the command. The 60-day assignments provide multi-functional training and assignments to strengthen knowledge, skills and abilities to innovatively serve Soldiers, Families and Civilians. The program prepares employees for broader responsibilities, strengthens their experience and improves communication within the enterprise.
Its goal is to build a multi-skilled, adaptable and sustainable workforce of installation management professionals.
DAP assignee Jay Bunton, a program and management analyst home-stationed in the Plans, Analysis and Integration Office at the Detroit Arsenal, spent two months working at the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management in Washington, D.C.
"I've been out of college for 35 years and never thought I would sit in on high-level staff meetings at the Pentagon," said Bunton, a 16-year Department of the Army Civilian. "It's something you can only dream about. I've opened up possibilities not only at the Pentagon, but all over the world now that my name and face are out there."
Bunton said he learned about the different factors affecting budget and that priorities at the Pentagon are constantly changing. He also gained perspective on how policy, planning and budgeting are determined not only at the DA level but at the Department of Defense level, as well.
"I would definitely encourage people to at least try [to get a DAP assignment], he said. "Get away from the routine of what you're doing and go somewhere else, even to a smaller garrison, to find out how they operate."
The DAP is funded by IMCOM Headquarters and is open to GS-7 to GS-13 or equivalent pay grade/band. A board consisting of a representative from OACSIM, HQ IMCOM and each Region ranks applications. The number of participants is based on available funding.
The Headquarters Centralized Mentoring Program, or HCMP, also gives employees a chance to learn from both peers and leaders. The program pairs seasoned mentors with high-performing, mid-career mentees for a one-year mentorship. It's designed to help mentees to focus on career development, broaden their understanding of the enterprise and build their confidence as future leaders.
"The concept of mentorship is great," said Laurie Gibson, strategic communications specialist and mentor to Kerrigan Davis, Army Support Activity deputy for training, education and security. "It can expose employees to great thoughts and ideas when ordinarily it would take them a lifetime to be exposed, or never exposed at all."
The program centers on a group project that supports one of IMCOM's line of efforts, or LOEs. Senior mentors, mentors and mentees first meet at the IMCOM Training Academy in San Antonio, Texas for orientation and training. Throughout the 12-month program, mentees shadow their mentor at their home duty station for one week, develop a project based on their assigned LOE and write an article for the HQ IMCOM G1 Bulletin. The program culminates in a Capstone Week, during which the mentees present their project to senior leaders.
Working with retired Soldiers of all different ages, as well as other Civilians, taught Davis the value of keeping an open mind and drawing from others' experiences -- especially her mentor's.
"Just the opportunity to bounce ideas off of another person, or to call her for perspective, has been invaluable," said Davis, who is working on a project supporting the Installation Management Campaign Plan LOE-1, Soldier, Family & Civilian Readiness.