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Education & Training: What your FDMs do for you

Airmen climb utility poles during the electronic systems apprentice, or power line distribution course, at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 19, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)

An Airman operates an excavator as part of the process to replace a broken water pipe at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Field development managers help ensure CEs in the field are trained properly to allow them to accomplish the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Naoto Anazawa/Released)
Senior Master Sgt. S. Jason Schmitz
Electrical power production force development manager

    The Air Force Civil Engineer Center's Force Development Division is responsible for overseeing career field specific training for approximately 19,000 civil engineer Airmen operating in 10 Air Force Specialty Codes. Force development managers in each civil engineer operations AFSC work directly with the Air Force career field manager and coordinate with the major command functional managers to manage training and developmental programs for active duty and the Air Reserve Component.

     The force development team is charged with overseeing and executing the establishment and revitalization of training programs and the modernization of training equipment in order to provide exceptional training to the career fields. Today's initiatives focus on the development of education, training and career field oversight to balance the levels of service and align civil engineer operations AFSCs with Department of Defense and Air Force policy across the civil engineer enterprise.

     From technical school to commercial vendor training programs, as well as throughout contingency training, the FDMs at AFCEC are involved in each step to field training. The focus on new training programs has garnered a highly successful and sought after "Tractor Trailer Training and Certification" program for the pavements and equipment career field. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, career field has established a menu of available commercial vendor training programs that aligns with and enhances the HVAC training goals and benchmarks. To multiply deployment capabilities and deliver mission execution in austere environments, the electrical power production AFSC has established a training line to support the Air Force's newest deployable power plant, the BEAR Power Unit. As new training programs are established, existing programs are being revised to further enhance the capabilities of civil engineer Airmen.

     To boost education and training courses, initiatives have been put in place to revitalize and modernize training at technical schools and the equipment employed during training. Each of the civil engineer operations AFSCs has recently undergone an in-depth review of the training programs. The resulting reviews have driven the development of revised training to meet strategic goals, including procurement support for these programs. The electrical systems AFSC apprentice and supplemental courses are in the final stages of revision and will tightly hone this critical skillset across the globe. The pavements and equipment technical school recently received six brand new skid-steer loaders to increase the training capabilities for the apprentice course. As enhancements are made to training, development of policy and guidance that drives these requirements is critical to our mission success. 

     As our Air Force evolves to better support our agile combat support functions, the FDMs at AFCEC are engaged with subject matter experts to provide strategic guidance on policies that influence the direction of the career fields for the civil engineer enterprise. With special focus on education and training, SME engagement on policy development ensures civil engineer Airmen are provided the training resources needed to be ready to execute the mission when called upon. 

Editor's Note: This article is part of the education and training summer series.