Take advantage of education and tuition assistance

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kevin L. Burrell
  • Joint Personal Property Shipping Office Det. 2
Since I've returned from my recent deployment, I have read countless articles in the Hansconian about Air Force Materiel Command's Year of the CCAF (Community College of the Air Force) initiative launched in January 2011. The advertisement is there and we are on track, yet it never ceases to amaze me that not every active duty member is taking advantage of formal education and tuition assistance.

"Formal education after high school is a path to promotion and personal development for enlisted Airmen and a commodity highly valued in all Air Force members," wrote Gen. Donald Hoffman, AFMC commander, in the first announcement about the program. "Even the wisest mind has something more to learn."

I think of people in my hometown who choose to go to college instead of signing up for one of our military services. My nephew in particular comes to mind. He works part time at Wal-Mart and a few extra hours at a local mom and pop store stocking shelves.

He works two jobs in order to pay for his college tuition. Bravo! He's not taking his education for granted and is willing to make the sacrifice.

With that in mind, I take it to heart when a fellow Airman does not desire to pursue formal education when tuition assistance is available.

Now, there are exceptions and valid reasons when someone may not be able to pursue formal education. For example, upgrade training and enrollment of Career Development Courses may not allow an Airman to take classes. But when a military member states they don't have time for school, this is when you as a mentor can step in and help them get focused. Share your life's experience and educational journey. You may be the spark that lights the flame.

If you have questions about off-duty education and tuition assistance, visit the Education and Training Center, located 29 Chennault St. in Building 1728, or call 781-377-3120.