Retraining gives NCOs opportunity to shape their careers

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The Air Force is seeking volunteers to accept jobs in more than 1,077 shortage career field and special duty positions during the 2009 Noncommissioned Officer Retraining Program which began Aug. 1.

The Air Force especially needs NCOs to choose opportunities to conduct investigative work in the Office of Special Investigation career field or to lead Airmen as a 'shirt' in the first sergeant career field. NCOs were notified Aug. 6 that they have been identified to retrain.

They must choose from the listing of shortage career fields when submitting their retraining packages which are due no later than Sept. 30.

"NCOs have the opportunity now to volunteer and establish a career path of their own choosing," said Chief Master Sgt. Christine Williams, chief of the Air Force Personnel Center enlisted skills management branch here. "Last year, volunteers filled 62 percent of career field shortages, and we hope to eclipse that percentage this year."

Eligible NCOs can now apply for retraining through the Air Force Personnel Center online applications process. When needed, personnel assistance is available for retraining questions through the 24-hour Air Force Contact Center.

Retraining eligibility listings by grade and Air Force Specialty Code were posted on AFPC's virtual Military Personnel Flight Web site Aug. 6. By selecting a particular grade or projected grade, NCOs may view their ranking on the list and apply for retraining.

"AFPC is making personnel services as easy as online banking," said Chief Williams. "If you need to submit a package, you do it all on line."

Master Sgt. Deitra Mathis said now is the best time for those NCOs identified for retraining to get started.

"The Air Force will take additional steps if necessary to fill these shortage career fields, but would prefer to fill them with volunteers," said Sergeant Mathis, the AFPC enlisted retraining superintendent.

For more information, Airmen should contact their base career assistance advisor or the Air Force Contact Center at (800) 616-3775 or DSN 665-5000.