The Army’s push to facilitate credentialing that soldiers can use once they transition off of active duty has taken another step forward, with the offer of a journeyman apprenticeship that can be completed with the training and job description you already have.
Through the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program, soldiers can pick one of more than 100 job titles that fit their military occupational specialty’s description, according to a Thursday release from Training and Doctrine Command.
“Soldiers can self-enroll, at no extra cost or use of benefits,” the release said.
More than 100 MOSs can participate, though, unfortunately, no credentials are available for the Army’s largest: the 11B infantryman.
Senior infantry sergeants, however, can earn a computer operator or office manager certificate. A supply specialist, for example, can earn computer operator, household manager, housekeeper, retail store manager and purchasing agent credentials.
The USMAP site lays out a four-step process for selecting a trade, enrolling, logging hours and then completing the apprenticeship. And if you’ve already been in the Army for a while, it’s just a matter of filling in the blanks.
Advanced individual training will serve as official instruction, and time served once you’re assigned to a unit counts as on-the-job hours. So, all you have to do is fill in your AIT graduation information and time spent in your MOS.
Newly enlisted recruits who are preparing to report to basic can also sign up, TRADOC spokesman Maj. Thomas Campbell told Army Times, and complete their apprenticeships once they’ve completed initial entry training and reported to their first units.
The apprenticeship program is part of a military and Department of Labor partnership to help service members get the paperwork they need to show civilian employers that their military jobs translate into the civilian workforce.
Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey has pushed in recent years to stand up a widespread credentialing program that would not only cover things soldiers learned on active duty, but allow them to earn non-MOS related certificates paid for similarly to the Tuition Assistance program.
The hope is that putting that kind of faith in soldiers will translate to higher retention rates, but will also assure high employment rates when soldiers do decide to leave.
“The misperception is that if you give people credentials, they’ll leave. That’s absolutely not true,” Dailey told Army Times in 2017. “Monetary incentive is not the primary reason people stay with organizations. It’s obviously not the one in the Army. We don’t give a whole lot of monetary incentive.”
In September, Fort Hood, Texas, launched a credentialing pilot that includes dozens of certificates, including emergency medical technicians, information technology and personal training specialties, with up to $4,000 a year to cover the costs.
The program is scheduled to go Army-wide in late 2019.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.