Monday, March 04, 2013

Innovative teaching idea saves Air Force $1.1 million

by Dan Hawkins
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

3/4/2013 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- An idea by the 982nd Training Group to make formal military instructor training available at field training detachments has saved the Air Force more than $1.1 million in temporary duty expenditures so far in fiscal year 2013.

The FTD version of the Principles of Instruction course, or POI, was implemented at 46 of the 48 FTD's owned by the 982nd TRG on Oct. 1 of last year. To date, 396 students have graduated a total of 66 classes, saving the Air Force not only in money, but in time spent away from home stations.

"This whole process really started in the fall of 2011 during an FTD optimization conference with the major commands," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Young, 982nd TRG group superintendent. "We wanted to put efficiencies in the processes and the idea came up to do the POI course out at the detachments instead of sending people here to Sheppard."

Principles of Instruction, or POI, is an 80-hour course designed for students from any Air Force Specialty Code who are not "T"-certified instructors and helps them understand the basics of teaching and speaking in front of a classroom.

Students learn about their role in the classroom environment, the communication and learning processes, along with curriculum development and classroom presentation techniques.

Young said most of the allocations to attend the POI course are for local training requirements and it just made sense to try and teach the POI course notionally during breaks in the FTD instructors' primary maintenance course schedules.

Getting the course approved to be taught at the field training detachments did prove to be a challenge.

"We had to work through turning this course into a J4 course (advanced skills training) from a J3-type course (initial skills training)," said Jimmy Keen, 372nd Training Squadron's training manager for faculty development . "This took a little bit of time, but once we worked through the issues, the ball started rolling."

Validating the course was a four-month effort between 982nd TRG detachments at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, S.C. and Travis AFB, Calif. The course was officially validated in late February of this year.

At Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Master Sgt. James Yount, an F-22 avionics instructor and flight chief with Field Training Detachment 18 of the 372nd TRS, discussed the value of the course to the different base organizations who need the training.

"We have taught two classes with 15 graduates so far," Yount said. "Five different organizations, including security forces, aircraft maintenance, intelligence and logistics have taken advantage of the local training. We've saved over $52,500 for the Air Force as well."

Both in terms of taking care of mandatory training needs and being fiscally-responsible in line with a cost-conscious culture, one of the biggest beneficiaries of the course being taught at the FTD's has been the security forces career field.

Air Combat Command (ACC) Security Forces has tripled their number of POI graduates from the previous year in the first five months since the new course came online and saved approximately $288,850 in TDY costs in the process.

"Finding training solutions to meet our AFI requirements has been a challenge," said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Wilsey, the Headquarters, ACC Security Forces training branch manager. "The opportunity to attend this localized training has definitely enhanced our capabilities and increased the quality of training at our units."

With training instructors at Silver Flag's Ground Combat Readiness Training Center at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., the 820th Base Defense Group at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and unit-level instructors at the bases themselves, the sheer number of students who need training was a huge obstacle to tackle.

"Just for perspective on how significant this course is, in fiscal year 2012, we (ACC security forces) were only able to schedule a total of 38 seat allocations in the POI course," Wilsey said. "Since Oct. 1, 2012, when the course became available at the detachments, 109 security forces airmen from ACC have completed the course."

Additionally, 75 security forces personnel are scheduled to attend a POI course at an FTD over the next three months, with a projected cost avoidance of $198,750 in keeping members at their home stations.

For the instructors at the detachments, teaching the course has added a different layer of training than they would normally get to teach.

"It really showcases how talented our instructors are," said Tech. Sgt. Bryan Kierstad, F-22 avionics instructor at the 372nd TRS FTD 18 at Langley. "We are all experts in our maintenance career field, so it's a rewarding challenge for us to teach people the basic functions a military instructor utilizes in their job."

No comments: