JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SC —
Approximately 40 local educational influencers visited the Joint Base Charleston Air Base Nov. 7, 2019, as part of a continuing effort to strengthen collaboration between leaders from the base and local community.
Col. Terrence Adams, commander of JB Charleston and the 628th Air Base Wing, hosted the event to demonstrate the importance of learning, inspiring, forging and transcending (L.I.F.T.) the connectivity between the base and educators in the Lowcountry regarding support for students entering the job market.
“With retention and lack of military awareness being a challenge for our DOD, we are wanting to reach those influencers who have direct contact with students to ensure they understand what is available to them,” said Adams. “Whether they desire to serve or be part of a support element like civil servants, we want to hit on recruitment through internships and apprenticeships and really understand what are the driving forces and priorities for this next generation of leaders. Essentially, we want to find out what students value today.”
The visiting delegation consisted of district leaders and administrators, JROTC instructors, guidance counselors, teachers (grades eight though 12) and career developmental personnel. While here, they learned about JB Charleston’s missions, capabilities and support programs through a series of briefings and discussions. They also visited the 373rd Training Detachment to learn about the airlift capabilities of the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft assigned to JB Charleston and participated in an open Q&A session with Adams and other base leaders.
Maj. Sara Gillesby, 628th Force Support Squadron operations officer, said the event was held to share JB Charleston’s mission with local educators and link them with agencies who can inform them on how the base can support their students through collaboration and discussion.
“I think we met this goal and made many connections that will forge great relationships with our local school leaders,” said Gillesby. “You cannot put a price tag on relationships. The connections being built between Joint Base Charleston and our local educators will pay dividends to the students as they get ready to enter the workforce and make career decisions.”
In addition to educating local educators on JB Charleston, base leaders learned about the needs of students who are preparing to enter the work force, including what they value and how military organizations can better connect with them.
“I think the biggest needs our students have right now are knowing where and how to find job opportunities,” said Cory Werkheiser, assistant director of career and professional development at the College of Charleston’s School of Business. “It’s also important for them to be prepared for the interview process to get those jobs, so I think the communication we had with the panel today definitely helped our educators understand how to prepare students for those opportunities. I really appreciate Col. Adams and everyone else who put this event together for taking time out of their busy schedules to have this conversation with us, and I look forward to future events with Joint Base Charleston.”
Adams echoed Werkheiser’s sentiments before adding that the relationship between the military and civilian workforce is mutually beneficial and encourages new ideas.
“Today is only the beginning of new relationships and opportunities,” said Adams. “We have a lot of prior-service members transition into our civilian job positions who already possess a wealth of knowledge, and my goal is to bring new civilians into those jobs because they have an innovative way of thinking that those who have served may not. I hope this event was able to inspire those partnerships between Joint Base Charleston members and community members.”