SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE --
With certain base functions closed due to the pandemic, the 50th Force Support Squadron’s Force Development Flight’s FTAC developed a virtual FTAC course that is being benchmarked across the Air Force.
The First Term Airman’s Course is a five-day class every new junior enlisted Airmen must attend upon arriving at their first duty station.
“The program gives Airmen information pertinent to our base, community and ways to set themselves up for success,” said Staff Sgt. David Gudgeon, 50th FSS FTAC noncommissioned officer in charge. “Airmen have only been in training until this point. Our class helps them transition from a training mindset to a member ready to support the mission. We equip them with all of the knowledge they will need to be successful, both personally and professionally.”
Out of an abundance of caution, the 50th FSS FDF has changed how they conduct the monthly course to protect Airmen.
“Our next FTAC class is scheduled for June 1 – 5,” he said. “We have reduced the number of students per class [down to 10,] applied [physical] distancing practices and plan to sanitize our room classroom daily.”
However, larger bases don’t necessarily have the luxury of postponing their classes due to a greater number of incoming Airmen. The Schriever FTAC team took action alongside career assistance advisors from Aviano Air Base, Beale Air Force Base and Fort Meade Army post to create a virtual FTAC for their Airmen.
“We don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to interact with the Air Force’s newest Airmen,” said Master Sgt. Kathryn North, 50th Space Wing career assistance advisor. “They are new to each of their locations and there is still much they need to know. Doing these courses virtually allows us to interact sooner and through a format that might even be more comfortable for the newest generation of Airmen.”
Creating the course took about one month and has recently been sent out to every career assistance advisor throughout the United States Air Force. The coursework is made up of videos, slides, documents and interactive pages that help Airmen learn about the Air Force and their base. Additionally, the team is updating it based on initial testing feedback.
“We had no idea how long the COVID-19 restrictions would be in place and we didn’t want to wait to find out and potentially miss out on an opportunity to have a positive impact,” North said. “This also gives us a back-up program in case this situation arises in the future.”