Air Force safety experts participate in Occupational Competency Model study to increase successful job performance with new training mindset

  • Published
  • By Jessie Perkins
  • Air Force Safety Center

The Air Education and Training Command’s occupational competencies branch hosted a study as part of a process to restructure force development across all Air Force career enterprises, forging a new training mindset to assist career field managers with the development of competency-based learning models for all Air Force military career fields.

The study focuses on combining task-based knowledge and skills with other behaviors and soft skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, self-control, resiliency, leadership and stress management intended to create behavior-based outcomes.

AETC has developed the competencies through a comprehensive study and research process over the past three years, categorizing them into four major groups: Developing Self, Developing Others, Developing Ideas and Developing Organizations.

Dr. Jeffrey Richardson, AETC competency program developer, facilitated the four-day session and is leading the Air Force-wide initiative. He said he was impressed with the team and their eagerness to participate despite a location change from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia to JB San Antonio due to the pandemic.

“This is a change, a paradigm shift in individuals,” Richardson said. “Instead of it being just a task-driven competency, this study recognizes the difference in a top-performing Airman versus an average performer.”

Richardson added, “This benefits everyone in the Air Force because now we will be able to see self-empowered and self-driven behaviors in a competency model framework with outcome-based results.”

The team for the study is working to develop an occupational competency model for the 1S0 safety community and is one of the first 25 career fields to participate.

“This team of safety professionals will also be developing strategies for actively applying the occupational competencies gained during the study into actionable behaviors needed to ensure successful performance on the job and mission execution,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kevin James, Air Force Safety career field manager.

“A big benefit of the study will be seen when we update our technical school training curriculum at the Utilization and Training Workshop in 2021 with improved Career Development Competencies,” James said. He is excited about how these improvements will positively impact mishap investigation reporting and hazard identification among other tasks.

The Utilization and Training Workshop’s primary purpose is for career field functional leaders to determine and present training requirements to the AETC training pipeline manager and training manager of the career field. James expects to start implementing the skills learned in the study throughout the career field immediately.

Senior Master Sgt. Lucas Shay, Air Combat Command Safety Directorate superintendent at JB Langley-Eustis led the diverse team of safety professionals, which hailed from various major commands and locations throughout the Air Force.

“We had an incredible team working on this project,” Shay said. “Going forward, it’s going to pave the way for how we develop our Airmen and how we focus our training on the things that really matter.”