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Shaw AFB implements AF-level civilian professional development course

Quency Henson, Profession of Arms Center of Excellence civilian training specialist, speaks to attendees during a Facilitation Training Workshop lunch and learn at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., June 29, 2017. The workshop was the first civilian employee-targeted professional development course offered at the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

Quency Henson, Profession of Arms Center of Excellence civilian training specialist, speaks to attendees during a Facilitation Training Workshop lunch and learn at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., June 29, 2017. The workshop was the first civilian employee-targeted professional development course offered at the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Airmen assigned to the 20th Force Support Squadron hosted a civilian professional development course at the Spratt Education Center June 26 to 29.

The Profession of Arms Center of Excellence Facilitation Training Workshop was the first course specifically for base civilian employees offered here and gave attendees instruction in leadership, presentation and guided discussion.

“It’s like a pipeline for training individuals to be leaders at work and at home, [and] have self-reflection,” said Willette Bowry, 20th FSS civilian training manager.

PACE developed the volunteer-led course in response to a survey which identified large gaps in the professional development of civilians. In January 2017, PACE began accepting requests from wings interested in implementing the course.

"The Air Force provides many opportunities for Airmen to grow, but it can now be said the Air Force grows civilians as well," said Richard Pembleton, 20th FSS community readiness specialist. "Having professionally developed civilians may lessen the worry of the active-duty Airmen when they deploy because the civilians will be able to pick up the slack and keep the mission going."

Individuals who participated in the course are now trained facilitators who may lead monthly civilian professional development courses focused on leadership and topics civilian employees may experience working in support of the military.

April Burnette, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron real property accountable officer, said she learned a lot from the class including information about how people think differently. She looks forward to using this new knowledge while facilitating classes and helping others become facilitators.

As civilians across the Air Force widen their horizons with professional development through the Facilitation Training Workshop, they also create a cycle of education by helping others learn to facilitate and lead. These efforts help ensure both civilian and active-duty Airmen succeed and keep the Air Force growing.