New civilian professional development course opens doors for success

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Zima
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

501st Combat Support Wing civilian employees gathered in the RAF Alconbury Education Center for a three-day Civilian Professional Development event Jan. 16-18.

Lt. Col. Liam Clancy, 501st Wing Staff Agency commander and director of staff, worked with Joseph Gomez III, 501st Combat Support Wing chief of wing plans and innovation, Lou Cumming, 501st CSW complaints resolution director, and Kimberly Stokes, 501st CSW SAPR specialist, to create a pilot class for WSA civilians to have better access to information and opportunities available to them.

“The curriculum was focused a lot on the things that our civilians need to know about - the Air Force organization and culture, the civilian Airman, civilian leadership…,” said Gomez. “Whether you’re a brand-new civilian, or you’ve been a civilian for a while, sometimes you need to refresh that information.”

Gomez has worked over 30 years in the Air Force. He retired after working as a firefighter and an instructor at the Airman Leadership School. After his military service, he continued to work as a civilian, so he understands some of the struggles that other civilians may face.

“The idea is, as we continue to refine this, and we start to offer it to the wider installation and the 501st,” said Gomez. “The possibilities are endless. It will be based on what folks want, what is the demand signal out there, and what we can put together for them.”

Tijuana Odom, 501st CSW integrated operational support clinical social worker, attended the event and shared some of her impressions.

“It just excited me because having been prior military and having so much guidance as Airmen, but I don’t think that that is provided as much for civilians,” said Odom. “There was a point where I was going to retire at my 30-year mark, because I felt like I was stifled, like there was nowhere to go. But this gave me hope that I have so many more years to give back, and that there are people who are willing to help me get there.”