News

Education Office wants ‘informed and confident’ Team Offutt

Simone White, 55th Force Support Squadron testing technician, instructs Team Offutt members on their roles and responsibilities as unit Weighted Airman Promotion System (WAPS) monitors. These include publicizing availability of the WAPS Catalog; assisting unit Airmen in identifying reference requirements; and obtaining study reference materials. Annually, Offutt’s education center manages notifications, allocations and confirmations for more than 900 Team Offutt military members’ professional military education, upgrade training and retraining in addition to the more than 2,000 Weighted Airman Promotion System tests they administered in fiscal year 2016.

Simone White, 55th Force Support Squadron testing technician, instructs Team Offutt members on their roles and responsibilities as unit Weighted Airman Promotion System (WAPS) monitors. These include publicizing availability of the WAPS Catalog; assisting unit Airmen in identifying reference requirements; and obtaining study reference materials. Annually, Offutt’s education center manages notifications, allocations and confirmations for more than 900 Team Offutt military members’ professional military education, upgrade training and retraining in addition to the more than 2,000 Weighted Airman Promotion System tests they administered in fiscal year 2016.

Simone White, 55th Force Support Squadron testing technician, instructs Team Offutt members on their roles and responsibilities as unit Weighted Airman Promotion System (WAPS) monitors. These include publicizing availability of the WAPS Catalog; assisting unit Airmen in identifying reference requirements; and obtaining study reference materials. Annually, Offutt’s education center manages notifications, allocations and confirmations for more than 900 Team Offutt military members’ professional military education, upgrade training and retraining in addition to the more than 2,000 Weighted Airman Promotion System tests they administered in fiscal year 2016.

Simone White, 55th Force Support Squadron testing technician, instructs Team Offutt members on their roles and responsibilities as unit Weighted Airman Promotion System (WAPS) monitors. These include publicizing availability of the WAPS Catalog; assisting unit Airmen in identifying reference requirements; and obtaining study reference materials. Annually, Offutt’s education center manages notifications, allocations and confirmations for more than 900 Team Offutt military members’ professional military education, upgrade training and retraining in addition to the more than 2,000 Weighted Airman Promotion System tests they administered in fiscal year 2016.

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, NEBRASKA -- Team Offutt members find themselves in “America’s Heartland” because they took an oath to do something 97 percent of their countrymen have not: join a branch of the United States military.

The rationale behind those decisions are as plentiful and diverse as there is sand on a beach.

But, according to a Pew research poll, 77 percent of military members surveyed listed educational benefits as an important reason for joining.

The Offutt Education Center is a true one-stop shop to assist current service members, veterans and dependents meet their professional and personal educational goals.

In fact, in fiscal year 2016, the education office provided academic and career advisement and counseling to more than 5,800 individuals while processing more than $2.5 million of tuition assistance.

The eight-person office is staffed by professionals, most of whom have military backgrounds, who can assist in assessing educational interests and developing a plan of action to help select the right program to achieve attainable goals.

“My job satisfaction comes from sharing information with people that I know I would have benefited from during my active-duty time and before retiring,” Randy Coleman, 55th Wing chief of education and training services, said. “There are many myths out there about educational benefits and processes. My team can relay the facts.”

In addition to advising and counseling about continuing education, the education center plays a vital role in the formal training programs for all military and civilian personnel at Offutt.

Formal Training

Annually, the center manages notifications, allocations and confirmations for more than 900 Team Offutt military members’ professional military education, upgrade training and retraining in addition to the more than 2,000 Weighted Airman Promotion System tests they administered in FY 2016.

The purpose of these formal training programs is to ensure each individual is prepared to meet Air Force mission requirements as opposed to the pursuit of a degree or certificate.

During the close of 2016, before the reenlistment and extension ineligibility requirement tied to enlisted PME was rescinded, the education center was flooded with requests to accommodate last-minute testing. With only eight members on staff, the education center wouldn’t have been faulted for an inability to support. However, according to Coleman, they found a way.

“Our mission and our goal is to support if there’s any way possible,” Coleman said. “We temporarily increased our capacity by 60 percent and facilitated each and every person who wanted to test through my team’s flexibility and scheduling adaptability.”

Likewise, the center also manages the funding for and execution of all base civilian supervisory training and ensures completion of new employee orientations.

FLPB

A unique requirement for education office, based on the mission-set of some units located here, is to process the test scores for more than 500 members of Offutt’s linguist community in order to validate their access to Air Force Foreign Language Proficiency Bonuses valued at $2.5 million annually.

Commissioning

The education staff also quality checks packages prepared by enlisted personnel seeking a commission.

“We recently held a commissioning town hall that was attended by almost 70 interested people,” Coleman said. “We’ve been able to partner with 17 officers who have offered their services as mentors and it’s been a great success. Our workload is high, but if there is interest, we will support efforts like these.”

Accessing Higher Education

The office also conducts a two-day Accessing Higher Education class, mandated by Presidential Executive Order, which readies Airmen transitioning off active duty to the private sector and provides information on scholarships, loans, grants and programs like the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

“We’re here to share what we know about programs and resources with Team Offutt,” Coleman said. “It means a lot to me because, not that long ago, that was me on the other side. I know what it’s like to have questions not fully understand my benefits. I want people to walk away informed and confident. That’s our mission.”

Offutt’s Education Center is located in Building 323C, Room 222. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the second Friday of each month due to training.

For more information, call (402) 294-5716; DSN 271-5716 or see their website at: http://offutt55fss.com/education-training/.