NEWS | Jan. 31, 2018

Education center continues to assist members with education goals

By Staff Sgt. Andrea Salazar Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

The Joint Base Charleston Education and Training Center gives service members and their families the resources to grow their careers and progress toward their education goals.

In 2018, the base Education Center will continue to support active duty members, reservists, guard, dependents and civilians who are pursuing higher education degrees and certifications. The Education Center also assists those attending the Community College of the Air Force along with providing guidance on commissioning programs.

“The power of education is immeasurable,” said Jennifer Beck, Joint Base Charleston Education Services specialist. “Whether an individual is going to school to enhance their career or simply for the joy of learning and growing, the ability to expand one's perspectives and develop as a person are the greatest gifts education offers.”

In Beck’s experience, many service members wait until their enlistment or contact is up to use the benefits of Military Tuition Assistance which gives members $4,500 per year or $250 per semester credit hour for schools accepting of MilTA.  

“I can't count the number of times an Airman has visited the education center during their final months of service, expressing how they wish they had taken more advantage of their MilTA benefit,” said Beck. “Over a 20-year career, MilTA can amount to a staggering $90,000. That is a lot of money to leave on the table.

Another program Airmen may be overlooking is the Air Force Credentialing Opportunities On-Line program. According to the Air Force Virtual Education Center, the program is a pathway for enlisted Airmen to earn industry recognized professional certifications and licenses. Professional qualifications enhance member’s active-duty work and prepares them to transition to the civilian job market after leaving the service.  

“The Air Force COOL program is a life-impacting program which uses MilTA,” said Beck. “This program can help Airmen who are separating or retiring, positioned to enter careers in the civilian sector by earning civilian-recognized credentials. I'd love to see every Airman take advantage of this program and be prepared with the qualifications they need for employment.”

Additionally, the Air Force recently rolled out a new program called the Career Skills Program. 

“This program in intended to allow Airmen to participate in an internship, apprenticeship or job-shadow program within 180-days of retirement or separation,” said Beck. “While this is a commander’s program, the Education Center is the first stop to initiate the process.  I encourage any interested individuals to visit the Education Center for further information.”

Currently, JB Charleston operates one education center in building 221 on the Air Base. With the Navy College office on the JB Charleston - Weapon Station closing, Sailors are encouraged to use the Navy College Virtual Education Center at www.navycollege.navy.mil for assistance with tuition assistance and educational counseling.

“Anyone seeking education opportunities can meet and work with counselors along with representatives from Park University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Southern Illinois University, said Beck. “Each school offers multiple face-to-face classes on base each term.”

If none of the schools on or off base fit a member’s needs, the staff at the center can help find other alternatives.

“Attending college may not be for everyone; however, taking just one class per year can make a difference in an individual's personal, academic and professional success,” said Beck.

For more information, contact the JB Charleston Education Center office at 843-963-4575.