A new career development program has been deployed to the Air Force Materiel Command maintenance community. The Maintenance Workforce Development Program is being implemented to provide a standard approach and increased opportunities for maintenance personnel to broaden their careers.
The Logistics Advisory Council identified a need for development programs particularly focused on the Federal Wage System community, and issued a call for action.
According to Lorna Estep, AFMC deputy director of logistics and co-chair of the LAC, “AFMC needs a standardized training and workforce development approach in place. We need to take the time now to develop programs and broaden opportunities for our employees to gain the knowledge and skills needed for future enterprise logistics roles.”
With this general vision, the LAC chartered an integrated process team to look into current development efforts and propose a standardized approach. The IPT was led by the AFMC Logistics Functional Office with representatives from each of the command’s air logistics complexes (Hill AFB, Utah; Tinker AFB, Okla.; and Robins AFB, Ga.), as well as Edwards AFB, Calif.; the Air Force Personnel Center and AFMC’s Directorate of Manpower, Personnel and Services.
Over the past 18 months, the team reviewed career development programs on-going at each of the air logistics complexes and identified best practices, which helped the team define the MWDP concept. The MWDP provides a multi-tiered approach for professional development. The first tier, modeled after the Air Force Developmental Opportunities Program and the Tinker Opportunities for Professional Service, is called the GS Developmental Opportunities Program (MWDP-GS) and is targeted toward FWS and lower grade General Schedule employees. Under this program, FWS and lower grade GS employees may apply and be competitively selected for developmental positions (GS-05 target -09) within the maintenance area.
There are currently five occupational series eligible for the MWDP-GS: GS-0301, Miscellaneous Administrative; GS-0343, Management and Program Analyst; GS-0895, Industrial Engineer Technician/Planner; GS-1152, Production Control; and GS-1670, Equipment Specialist. When a vacancy becomes available in one of these five series, the hiring official will make a determination as to whether the position could be filled as a developmental program position. If so, the position will be re-designated and advertised for fill action as an MWDP developmental position. Once selected, the employee will be placed on a Formal Training Plan to guide development and will be provided with quarterly feedback to ensure successful progression.
The FTP identifies required training geared for a specific job series that all personnel selected for MWDP-GS will complete, along with duty-specific tasks and training as determined by the supervisor. In order to be promoted, an employee must spend at least one year time-in-grade in the position and must successfully complete the training requirements identified in the FTP. This cycle will continue until the employee reaches the target grade of the position. Civilian employees interested in a developmental position within maintenance should monitor the USAJOBS web-site for announcements and follow the instructions on the job announcement to apply.
The second tier of the MWDP is designed for Wage Leader development. IPT members interviewed supervisors at their respective locations and collected information concerning common knowledge gaps with newly assigned WLs. That information, along with training identified that could be used to close the gaps, culminated in the Wage Leader Development Program (MWDP-WL). The MWDP-WL includes a series of developmental courses new WLs must complete to help provide the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the new position and assists with making the transition from mechanic/worker to leader. Under this program, new WLs must complete the identified training within one year of assignment.
“We applaud leadership’s desire to develop our maintenance workers and provide them a path to transition to the General Schedule,” said Troy Tingey, American Federation of Government Employees Council 214 president, during a briefing on the program. “A program like this has been needed for a long time.”
For the maintenance WG and WL communities, MWDP offers a great opportunity for professional, as well as personal, growth. The MWDP applies only to the air logistics complexes; however, other AFMC maintenance organizations may adopt the program if desired. For more information, see AFMCI36-2602, Maintenance Workforce Development Program – which was published March 1, 2013, and provides eligibility requirements and other program information – or contact your local MWDP point of contact (Hill AFB, Kevin Moore and Steve Tharp; Tinker AFB, Beverly Brown and Barry George; Robins AFB, Abe Banks; HQ AFMC/A4, Sandra Wimberly and Steve McBride).