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 Hanscom Airmen to receive CCAF degrees - 4/25/2012
Hanscom recognized as best in command for YoCCAF

Posted 4/25/2012   Updated 4/25/2012 Email story   Print story


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

4/25/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- Throughout the course of the Year of the Community College of the Air Force initiative in 2011, Hanscom saw a 12 percent increase in the number of participants who received their CCAF degree and a 22 percent increase in the number of enrollees in CCAF, making it the No. 1 base in Air Force Materiel Command.
"The overall campaign goals to 'increase education participation, enrollments and CCAF degrees by 10 percent' were exceeded at all AFMC bases," said Chief Master Sgt. Eric Jaren, AFMC command chief, in an email. "In the end, Hanscom AFB was determined to make the greatest progress!"

The effort could not have been possible without the help of Hanscom's Partners in Education, Secretaries of Education, the Education and Training Center, leadership involvement and, of course, the Airmen who took the initiative to complete their degrees, according to Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Call, Electronic Systems Center command chief.

YoCCAF started early in 2011 with Secretaries of Education Master Sgt. Colleen Beverly, Master Sgt. Shon Teicheira and Staff Sgt. Carrie Jordan. After Beverly and Teicheira deployed and Jordan PCS'd, Master Sgt. Brent Whitby and Tech. Sgt. Monica Adams stepped up to lead the 18 Partners in Education.

"A lot of the credit goes to Sergeant Beverly," said Whitby. "She recruited the partners and created a standard model. She really held everyone accountable."

But both the secretaries and leadership agreed that Hanscom had such resounding success due to the effort of the Partners in Education.

"These were the people who got in the weeds," said Call. "They were the ones emailing and calling people, encouraging them to stay motivated to complete their degrees."

The base's education center was also instrumental in furthering the initiative.

"The command (AFMC) provided us funds so we could purchase marketing materials," said Debbie Billings, Education and Training Center director. "This made it easier to set up booths at events like the Summer Bash and give out information or talk to Airmen about education."

Billings noted that many Airmen didn't realize they could attend Park University or Boston University on base. They also were not aware of the many opportunities available to them to complete their CCAF.

"The marketing of Year of the CCAF really helped get the word out," said Adams.

All involved agreed that although Hanscom receiving this recognition was an honor, the highlight should be on the benefits for the Airmen and the Air Force.

"The more education you receive, the more marketable you are on the outside if you decide to get out of the Air Force," said Adams. "If you decide to stay in 20 years or more, more education helps you promote."

Call also noted that education sparks creativity and helps Airmen stay motivated.

Chief Master Sgt. Baird Stiefel, 66th Air Base Group superintendant, said that the focus is on deliberately developing Airmen.

"Our personnel are our best resource," he said. "These Airmen balanced their work, school and their families."

According to Whitby, a good way to look at the YoCCAF initiative is to remember the words of Winston Churchill -- we're out of money, now we have to think - in times of tight budgets.

"As we move forward and draw down the force, it's important we have a more educated force," he said. "The more education you have, the better informed decisions you can make, the more articulate you can be. Ultimately, it leads to a more well-rounded Airman. From a warfigher standpoint, a more educated Airman can think smarter than the enemy."

Now, base leadership, the Secretaries of Education and Partners in Education are looking forward. AFMC's new initiative for 2012 is the Year of Continuing Education and all involved are working hard to make sure Airmen continue their studies in addition to bringing officers and civilians on board.

The focus is for enlisted Airmen to continue to work on their CCAF degree or move ahead and start working on bachelor's or master's degrees. Officers are encouraged to work on master's degrees or professional military education. Civilians can also be encouraged to further their education or seek PME opportunities. In the end, all Air Force employees should look for professional development opportunities.

As a fitting way to transition from YoCCAF to YoCE, the next CCAF graduation will take place May 3 at 2 p.m. at the Hanscom Conference Center. In total, 78 Airmen will receive their degrees and approximately 25 will participate in the graduation ceremony.

"Many people don't realize how close they are to receiving a CCAF," said Whitby. "These command initiatives give us the resources and give Airmen the motivation to move forward."

Billings agreed.

"We can help enlisted Airmen with commissioning packages," she said. "In some cases, Airmen need only one or two classes to complete a CCAF and we can assist them with doing the right things to achieve their goals."

Anyone interested in learning more about educational opportunities available at Hanscom, contact the Education and Training Center at 781-225-5945. Airmen who are not sure who their Partner in Education is may contact Whitby at 781-225-6292 or Adams at 781-225-6254.

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