Civilian Education System builds Army professionals
The Army Management Staff College has announced that Civilian Education System courses are open for FY20 enrollment.
Kathy Feehan, JBM-HH workforce development specialist, hopes that joint base civilians take advantage of the opportunity. Feehan, who attended her career path’s intermediate level CES course in 2018 said “(The class was among) the best quality of instruction I’ve had in the Army.”
There is one required, and three optional levels of instruction for general service and nonappropriated funded equivalent civilians, depending on grade. All civilians begin with the Foundation course.
According to AMSC, the online-only Foundation Course provides Army Civilians with an orientation to leader-development concepts, building their careers, and becoming Army Civilian leaders. The course is required for all Army Civilians who entered the Army Civilian Corps after September 30, 2006.
There are three levels of study that include both online and distance learning components; basic, intermediate, and advanced.
Feehan said that even if one does not plan to travel, the online portions are invaluable. In the intermediate course, the online content included modules on Army structure, military decision making processes, and strategic thinking.
Feehan said the modules bolstered her understanding of Army operations. “A lot of our (civilian) colleagues are prior service. I didn’t have that experience with the structure and Army decision making process.”
The Basic Course is designed for Army Civilian leaders GS-1 through GS-9 who exercise direct leadership to effectively lead and care for teams. The course many be taken either online, or during a two week residency at Fort Leavenworth. The resident quotas are limited for the basic course, and the option is reserved for those committed to leadership advancement.
The Intermediate Course prepares current and aspiring Army Civilian leaders, GS-10 through GS-12, to become more innovative, self-aware, and prepared to effectively lead and care for personnel and manage assigned resources at the organizational level. The intermediate course requires both online and distance learning components, including a three week residency phase at Fort Leavenworth.
The Advanced Course prepares upper grade Army Civilian leaders, GS 13 through 15, to assume increasing levels of responsibility and leadership within organizations. The advanced course requires both online and distance learning components, including a four week residency phase at Fort Leavenworth.
Feehan’s intermediate cohort included more than 100 civilians, who were broken into smaller classes of about 20. Through the experience of attending classes and living in the same lodging, she got to know people from across the Army.
“It’s pretty challenging. You are given problems, breakouts, self-assessments.” She said, “It was very eye opening because you’re accustomed to your environment and problem sets, and when you listen to someone else in a different command you see a layer of perspective, more of a strategic global perspective.”
Feehan said this made her ask, “What does this mean for me at JBM-HH? How do I fit in the larger [Army] picture?”
Feehan learned what professional competencies Army civilians should have. One of these emphases was trust. Feehan said CES taught her that, “The Army [is] its people. If we don’t trust our people, who are we?”
Feehan said this message reminded her of the words of JBM-HH command leaders, including Col. Kimberly Peeples. “When Colonel Peeples speaks, I always look back at what I learned at CES.”
Tim Weathersbee, Chief of the CP29 Proponency and Management Office at the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, said he encouraged IMCOM professionals to attend. He said that the courses build an individual’s ability to solve challenging problems.
“The Installation Management Community includes over 20,000 Army Civilians in 24 commands and organizations and serving in over 24 occupational series,” he said. “A key competency applicable across much of the community is complex problem solving.”
“The CES course contributes to one’s ability to solve or manage complex or wicked (severe) problems in several ways. First, studying and working with a diverse group of fellow students across the Army and the operating environment. The courses also offer opportunities to refine key competencies related to complex problem solving such as critical thinking, interpersonal communications, influencing, negotiating, synthesis, emotional intelligence, resilience, and more.”
For the IMCOM professional aspiring to leadership roles, or self-development, Weathersbee said CES is required. “Completing CES is a prerequisite for some of the Army’s most prestigious and valuable training, education, and professional development programs: Enterprise Talent Management, Senior Enterprise Talent Management, Academic Degree training (funding for a degree), and the Harvard Senior Executive Fellows program.”
The goal of CES extends beyond teaching Army values. “CES is an opportunity to build interpersonal relationship skills.” said JBM-HH Public Affairs Officer Nate Allen, who attended CES intermediate in 2015.
What can one take away after CES?
Feehan said CES attendees will come back with a sense of community, understanding that they are part of the Army Family. “It is esprit de corps. I am an Army professional, these are my colleagues. We are all working towards the same large goal.”
“I think the biggest thing is that [CES] changed my life,” Allen said.
According to AMSC, Civilian Education System course are now open for FY20 enrollment in CHRTAS. Commands are responsible for managing quotas for their Army Civilians, so work with your supervisor and training manager to determine your eligibility and priority level. Always review your CHRTAS profile to ensure it is accurate to include your supervisor’s email. To access CHRTAS go to https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/chrtas/.
For those who cannot travel to Leavenworth, there are occasionally local opportunities to take the course. To view the upcoming course schedule and learn more about educational opportunities visit AMSC online at https://usacac.army.mil/organizations/cace/amsc.
By Emily Mihalik, JBM-HH Public Affairs