Formal training sustains AF readiness, aids Airmen

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Formal training managers at the Air Force Personnel Center here are committed to ensuring Airmen are provided adequate time to prepare for their formal training classes, and that every Airman who needs to attend, has the opportunity. Empty seats due to 'no shows' have an impact on the entire Air Force.

Formal training is a key component to improve Airman professional competence and help the Air Force maintain its combat capability in today's dynamic environment. It includes training at in-resident senior noncommissioned officer and NCO academies as well as all Air Force-level supplemental training (security, communications, electronics, etc.) and instruction at 7-level in-resident schools.

The scheduling process for formal training includes unit, major command and AFPC input, and therefore clear communication of needs and attendance is essential.

"Good communication ensures the Air Force efficiently uses each seat in its formal training program and in doing so prepares Airmen for mission requirements both on station and at deployed locations," said Chief Master Sgt. Tyrone Austin, education and training branch chief of AFPC's Personnel Services Directorate. "In addition, it also helps Air Force schools maintain enough seats for future training needs."

Annual forecasting provides a means to ensure training levels and mission requirements remain compatible. The forecasting process begins at the unit level with unit training managers, supervisors and commanders who collaborate and project their formal training needs. Units send this information to functional managers at the major command level who in turn pass on the training requests to AFPC formal training managers for scheduling.

"AFPC has the capability to cancel a training line number up to 24 hours prior to class start date. We'd prefer to have at least 10 duty days advanced notice as this would allow us time to re-advertise the opening to the rest of the career field and find another individual to attend," said Master Sgt. Tammy Lafferty of the education and training branch.

Air Force schools have averaged about 57,000 seats for formal training over the past three years, said Sergeant Lafferty. During that time 'no-show' rates have declined, but they are still at 11.1 percent for fiscal 2008. The Air Force centralized the scheduling of all formal training at AFPC this past March in an effort to streamline services and make maximum use of resources.

Often times a last-minute cancellation by a scheduled trainee is not communicated across all those involved and results in a 'no-show' or empty seat in that training course. Timely communication with AFPC is critical so the schoolhouse can be notified, a replacement person selected if time permits, and a 'no-show' avoided.

For more information to include viewing projected training listed in the data verification brief, visit the AFPC "Ask" Web site; search for "formal training." You can also get more information through the 24-hour Air Force Contact Center at (800) 616-3775.