JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – Air Education and Training Command has awarded the 2020 Gears of Government Award to Air Force Recruiting Service’s Command Standardization and Training Team in the team category.
The Gears of Government Awards are designed to recognize individuals and teams across the federal workforce, whose performance and dedication support exceptional delivery of key outcomes for the American people in the three areas of: mission results, customer service and accountable stewardship.
“The training team is honored to be recognized with this award,” said Master Sgt. Christopher Rabenold, a member of AFRS’s Command Standardization and Training Team. “Taking care of recruiters in the field is always our first mission, but it truly is an honor to be recognized for our hard work.”
Inspired by the Chief of Staff’s number one recruiting priority, the training team developed a sales platform for the Special Warfare recruiting squadron, as well as in-field training guides, and training evaluations. This updated program enabled AFRS to flow 1,251 Special Warfare applicants to Basic Military Training, resulting in the special warfare pipeline reaching 100% capacity for the first time in 21 years, while also saving the Air Force $6.5 million a year in attritions.
“The Special Warfare mission required a different sales platform than enlisted accessions,” Rabenold said. “Their mission is unique and the training needed to mirror that. We worked with the Brooks Group and Special Warfare subject matter experts to create a dedicated sales platform as well as recruiting training products.”
Another win for the training team was merging the Health Professions and Line Officer recruiter training programs to create the Officer Accession training program. The team created a new sales platform, in-field training guides, and training evaluations.
The changes immediately saved $700,000 and 4,000 man hours a year. These efforts resulted in the new OA program closing all goaled programs for the first time in 10 years. Additionally, the three OA recruiting squadrons received the Air Force Recruiting Service Standard of Excellence.
“We combined the Health Professions and Line Officer training programs to mirror how the OA mission was being completed in the field,” Rabenold said. “We relied heavily on subject matter experts to provide guidance on what the field needed. Now that the programs are combined, we have reduced training time, travel requirements, and can provide OA recruiters with a standardized level of training that was previously not available.”
Listening to the concerns of recruiters world-wide, the AFRS Training team took the program down to the bones and crafted a new training program based on tactical level feedback.
“It really is taken from the command’s top three priorities; we are dedicated to taking care of the recruiting force, driving smart operations, and furthering Total Force Recruiting,” said Senior Master Sgt. Ian Kline, a member of AFRS’s Command Standardization and Training Team. “Our ability to shape our training programs to best serve the current-day force is extremely important. We rely on feedback from the Airmen that make our mission happen every day.”
The team led six Tiger Team events with 90 members working together to create the perfect program. Implementing the feedback allowed them to create 20 brand new training guides, rewrite the Job Qualification Standard, and revamp command level training workshops with a standardized curriculum in AETC lesson format.
They followed up with 28 in-field visits, reaching every group and squadron certifying that the program was working as intended. Furthermore, the team instructed 24 in-resident training workshops to reinforce the new training program.
“SMEs were pulled from all over the command and at various experience levels to ensure what we created was relevant,” Rabenold said. “The Tiger Teams worked to develop relevant training products that match the environment of our Airmen.”
A major challenge for the team was adjusting on the fly during the COVID-19 pandemic and find ways to still get training accomplished.
“COVID-19 has affected the way we train,” Kline said. “We conducted our workshops over Zoom and used the adjustment to revamp the training program. We hope to get back to the in-person workshops soon but are ready with the new capabilities if needed.”
Having a balance of in-person training and virtual training is important to meet the needs of recruiters and being prepared for any circumstance.
“A hybrid ability will enable us to adjust and react in real-time to changes that will inevitably arise in this new climate that we are learning to fight through every day,” Rabenold said.
The AFRS training team will now compete at the Air Force level.