BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
Life for Reserve Citizen Airmen can be busy, leaving little time to think about major career decisions such as reenlistments and bonuses. Fortunately, the Air Force Reserve employs group career advisors to help Airmen and their supervisors navigate these situations.
Master Sgt. Macord Johnson, 307th Bomb Wing career advisor, emphasized the importance of the group career advisor in shaping the future of the force, one Airman at a time.
“Group career advisors are really where the rubber meets the road when it comes to retention and bonuses,” said Johnson. “They administer the program at the group level and are important in helping Airmen get important information regarding reenlistments.”
Johnson also said group career advisors are also vital in implementing the Selective Retention Program (SRP), an initiative designed to streamline the reenlistment process and help supervisors retain the troops they need.
Master Sgt. Brandon Parish, 489th Bomb Group career advisor, believes the role can have a deep impact.
“I get to help people with career decisions, but I get to act as a mentor, as well, he said. “By building professional relationships, I get to know what people love and dislike about their jobs and help grow in their careers,” said Parish
Advising and mentoring individuals through the reenlistment process is a significant part of being a group career advisor, but capturing data is also important.
Parish believes finding out what motivates an Airman to reenlist improves not only the individual, but the whole Air Force Reserve
“If you have someone who is maintaining aircraft, but they really want to be in the medical field, I want to know that so I can see about making that match,” he explained. “If people are happy in their job, that helps retention, but you’ll only know that if you are out and meeting the people in your unit.”
Those wishing to become a group career advisor must hold the rank of Master Sgt. or be a promotable Tech. Sgt. They must possess a Community College of the Air Force degree, passing fitness assessment scores, and good Enlisted Performance Reports.
Qualified candidates should also be able to complete the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy within a year of accepting a group career advisor position.
“Like a first sergeant or a military training instructor, a group career advisor has to be held to a high standard because they need to be an example for other Airmen,” said Johnson.
Career group advisors come from very diverse backgrounds. Normally, they don’t have an Air Force Specialty Code that fits within the group they serve. Tours are generally three years.
Leaving a known career field for three years and trying to uphold such high standards can be daunting at first, said Parish. He admits being skeptical about leaving his position as a loadmaster instructor on the C-130J Hercules when he became the 489th BG’s career advisor more than three years ago.
Since then, however, the rewards of the job have erased all those concerns. He recently extended his tour to serve beyond the normal three-year commitment.
“Building relationships, helping people and watching them grow in their careers is what made me fall in love with the position,” he said.
Editors Note: The 307th Maintenance Group currently has an opening for a group career advisor. To find out more, please contact Lt. Col. Robert Griffith at email@example.com or call 318-529-3231 no later than Sept. 8, 2019.