by 1st Lt Alicia Wallace
45th Space Wing Public Affairs
2/23/2015 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla -- The
Patrick Air Force Base Professional Development Center is not just a
place for professional and leadership education; as of Feb. 11 it's the
most technically advanced professional development center in the Air
Using iPads instead of paper and styluses instead of pens, the
development center equips their students with leadership tools and
experiences without purchasing a single sheet of paper. With the recent
addition of virtual communications apps like Skype and FaceTime,
students can attend classes from anywhere saving the Air Force and the
Airmen, time and money.
The first trial of this virtual classroom offers students the
opportunity to take professional development classes using their own
virtual communication devices from almost anywhere. Students who use the
virtual classroom can participate in classes and receive the same
leadership knowledge and skills as their physically present
According to the Airman Leadership School Commandant Master Sgt. Ted
Byerly, since going paperless the PDC has saved around $10,000 a year.
Byerly estimates going virtual will have even higher savings for the
entire Air Force.
"TDYs [temporary duty assignments] are about $300 to $500 for a one-day
class depending on the distance of travel. A one-week class would be
about $700 to $1,000 a person. We could save the Air Force $125,000 a
year if we ran just eight (virtual) classes, and the potential is even
greater considering we have 52 iPads," he said.
One of the strongest advocates for the program is Chief Master Sgt. Craig Neri, 45th Space Wing command chief.
"In financially strapped times such as these, switching to 'virtual
classrooms' comes as a good solution," said Neri. "Using the latest
technology, our professional development center team continues to employ
efficient, cost saving methods to not only make us more efficient but
also increase capability. Examples like this are why they are the 2013
Air Force Professional Development Center of the Year and the 2014 Air
Force Space Command nominee as well."
Master Sgt. Jennifer Martinez, 45th Space Wing career assistance advisor, came up with the idea of creating a virtual classroom.
"I was told that several personnel assigned at remote locations could
not attend our courses due to lack of funding. I knew we had the
capability to provide these services virtually and wanted to ensure
everyone received the same professional enhancement opportunities as
those assigned to Patrick AFB, especially at locations without bases or
Air Force personnel to mentor or provide onsite professional development
opportunities," said Martinez.
"It is very exciting to see how the advanced technology provided by the
45th Space Wing is going to enable our Airmen to grow and become
phenomenal leaders in the Air Force. Everyone should have an
opportunity to take leadership skills courses and professional
enhancement seminars without being hindered due to their assigned duty
location. These opportunities are vital to the success of our future
leaders," she said.
The courses that will be offered virtually are the First Term Airman
Course, Non-Commissioned Officer Enhancement Seminar, Informed Decision
Seminar, and all professional development courses that provide
supervisory, leadership, management, mentorship and teambuilding
Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and civilians, to include those in
the Reserve and Guard, who are interested in attending classes virtually
from any remote location, or their assigned duty location, will be able
to attend professional development enhance opportunities at the 45th
Space Wing Professional Development Center.
For more information please contact the Patrick Air Force Base Professional Development Center at 321-494-4547.