Story by Charles E. Spirtos, Texas Military Department Public Affairs
AUSTIN, Texas— The Texas Army National Guard graduated twenty-four students from the University of Texas Project Management Certificate Program, October 7, 2020, during a ceremony at Camp Mabry in Austin.
Maj. Gen. Greg Chaney, Texas Military Department Deputy Adjutant General – Army, presented the graduates with certificates to recognize this significant achievement. The twenty-four Soldiers came from across the state to enhance their skillsets through the use of the Army Credentialing Assistance Program.
Students underwent a rigorous 60-hour course of instruction as well as over 750 pages of reading material and were taught by Col. (ret.) Garry Patterson, a former Texas National Guard officer who now serves as an educational consultant for the University of Texas at Austin Center for Professional Education.
The course usually focuses on corporate project management, but this particular version was engineered specifically for the Soldiers to give relevant examples to projects they would encounter in their military careers.
The Project Management Certificate Program is intended to enhance Soldiers’ project management skills through globally recognized processes and a proven framework for leading and directing projects and teams. The program is industry-driven and takes Soldiers through the essential processes in a logical and sequential way to prepare them to move up in their careers.
With their graduation from this program, the 24 Soldiers are eligible to apply to sit for the PMP certification exam, using their remaining credentialing assistance funds. Once certified, these citizen-Soldiers will be able to successfully manage teams and projects across the Texas Guard, as well as in their civilian jobs.
The Army Credentialing Assistance Program was established in 2019 to provide service members with increased opportunities to expand their skills and experiences, enhancing their ability serve in a multi-domain warfare environment.
The program directly contributes to supporting Soldiers’ professional development, retaining quality Soldiers, and preparing Soldiers for meaningful employment upon transition from military service.
“The credentialing assistance program is an additional tool for Soldiers to develop themselves in technical and practical skills, much like the tuition assistance helps students achieve their educational development goals,” said Mary Lantz, Texas Military Department education services specialist.
“We ensured rigorous COVID-19 mitigation procedures were in place,” such as enforced social distancing, mask requirements, and daily temperature checks,” said Lantz. “It was very nice that in the middle of a COVID-19 environment, we were able to provide some normalcy in a classroom setting where the Soldiers could gain new skills as well as build their networks.”
The benefit from the Credentialing Assistance Program is two-fold – providing service members with tangible skills for their military specialties within the Guard, while also bolstering their ability to perform in civilian careers as well.
The program extends beyond simply funding coursework. The funding is comprehensive and provides every Soldier $4,000 every year said Lantz. These funds can be used for course work earned towards a certification, books and supplies, as well as certification and examination fees.
The program is flexible and allows Soldiers to guide their own learning path through the use of a website called Army COOL, which contains a catalogue of all possible credentialing opportunities and the associated requirements. This system affords Soldiers the flexibility to independently work.
However, in the case of the Project Management Professional program, Lantz explained that the Texas Military Department coordinated the coursework directly with the University of Texas so that all twenty-four students could participate together.
“The Soldiers learned the logic behind project management,” said Patterson. “They performed extremely well.”