The Air Force Personnel Center recently released information regarding a new registration process for noncommissioned officers, senior NCOs and chief master sergeants needing to complete enlisted professional military education requirements.
For Airmen assigned to Ramstein Air Base and its tenant units who can attend Kisling NCO academy, this change simplifies the process and places the logistics of attending EPME in the students’ hands.
“When I think about this process I think about, ‘predictability for the Airman,’” said Chief Master Sgt. Terrance Smiley, Kisling NCOA commandant. “When you look at the amount of ‘no shows’ per year — across our force, across all of the PME institutions — they’re through the roof. If you give people predictability, they’re able to pick the class they want to attend, they’re more likely to show up and cut down on those no shows.”
Under the old process, students were notified of their report date for classes by receiving a training RIP. This process didn’t take into account an Airman’s projected leave, temporary duty or other factors.
Through the new system, eligible NCOs and SNCOs receive an email in June and December which directs them to MyPers where they now have four options: three upcoming class dates and a fourth indicating that they are unavailable for training. Airmen then choose a first, second or third option out of the three available options, or decline any or all of them.
“We anticipate a great reduction in deferments and no shows,” Smiley added.
Deferments are when a student is scheduled for a PME course, but must be removed for any reason. Conversely, students are classified as no shows when they are not present for the first day of class, regardless of reason for absence.
The new system is still in its infancy, but during a trial run in 2019, the number of deferments and no shows for Senior NCOA and Chiefs’ Leadership Course decreased by 85 percent.
“The rosters for these classes are changing right up until the start of the class,” said Senior Master Sgt. Bradley Johnson, U.S. Air Forces in Europe PME functional manager. “It’s not supposed to be like that, but it is. Due to our constant contact between NCOA, myself and our AFPC professionals, we can take a late notice deferment and fill that seat with a student.”
Smiley and Johnson applauded the efforts of Tech. Sgts. Dwain Rivers and Michael Olsen, AFPC’s NCO in charge of EPME scheduling and EPME scheduling manager respectively.
These guys go above and beyond by working with us right up until the class starts and if they didn’t we would have a bunch of empty seats,” Johnson said.
Rivers and Olsen helped create this new process after Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright said he wanted to give Airmen a voice in their military education.
The new system does just that. When students have a voice, they’re happier and their PME experience is improved, Smiley said.
The first classes under the official roll out of the system start in April. Smiley and Johnson are looking forward to seeing just how much this change helps Airmen succeed in the classroom.