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Plenty of professional development opportunities for Team Pete

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Tech Sgt. Thomas Echelmeyer, 21st Aerospace Medicine Squadron, leads a course on Millennial Leadership at the Peterson Professional Development Center. The course helps leaders understand how to better deal with members of the millennial generation.  (Courtesy Photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Tech Sgt. Thomas Echelmeyer, 21st Aerospace Medicine Squadron, leads a course on Millennial Leadership at the Peterson Professional Development Center. The course helps leaders understand how to better deal with members of the millennial generation. (Courtesy Photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- For anyone needing to brush up on any skills, meet any core training requirements or gain professionally beneficial knowledge - the Professional Development Center is your ticket.

The Peterson Professional Development Center, located in the Force Development Center building, provides leadership and professional development training for all Department of Defense employees and civilians associated with Peterson Air Force Base. As part of the 21st Force Support Squadron the center supports the FSS mission to develop and support total force resilient Airmen and families sustaining the 21st Space Wing and its partners.

The center offers the Air Force Instruction-mandated core classes: Senior NCO professional enhancement course for new master sergeants, NCO professional enhancement course for technical and staff sergeants, First Time Airmen's Course and Informed Decision Workshop. But it offers so much more than just the mandatory schedule.

For starters, having a central location for professional development is a significant benefit to Team Peterson said Master Sgt. Paul Mackey, 21st FSS career assistance advisor. Before there was a PDC he said many squadrons did their own training, such as FTAC, and there was no coordination from class to class.

"The PDC provides that central repository for leadership and professional development under the bigger umbrella of force development," Mackey said. "The nice thing is that we have flexibility to pick and choose what best benefits the base outside of the four core (courses). We have the creative license to do what the base needs and asks for."

Mackey said he gets requests for non-standard classes at least a couple of times a week. It may be a topic or course an Airman took or presented at another base, or just one they heard about and are interested in taking. In those cases there is a process before a course makes it on the quarterly offering of classes.

The first part of the vetting process begins when the person who had the idea brings any course materials in for an initial dry run presentation to Mackey's team. If the dry run goes well Mackey will add it to the class schedule. He may further vet a particular course suggestion by polling people in other classes to gauge interest.

Part of the vetting process is making it fit the Peterson population, which includes members of all the branches of the military, Canadian partners and civilians. Courses are designed to work for everyone so, outside of the core classes they are not completely Air Force specific.

In cases where a course is frequently requested, Mackey may reach out to others to deliver the sessions.

"We may ask some units if they are interested in putting together a course or topic that people are interested in," he said. The center staff also works with professional groups like the Peterson 5/6 Council to be sure training is relevant and up to date. Phased out courses are archived for possibly later use.

Some ideas are not strong enough to support an entire course, but Mackey said they may fit with another idea or a course previously offered. In those cases the ideas can be combined into a more robust offering.

Some of the more popular offering on the roughly 30 course class list are the Superintendent's Course, the Silver Bullet writing class and the new Millennial Leader class.

"Leadership classes are always popular. People cannot seem to get enough if it says leadership in the title," Mackey said. Study and test taking skills classes and the Four Lenses personality workshop are other well received courses available through the center.

The career assistance advisor network locally is a strong one so the groups on each base in the area stay up on what is offered or what is needed at each installation. Courses can even be taken on the road to places like Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station or to the 13th Air Support Operations Squadron housed at Fort Carson. They have even worked with bases in Guam and Cavalier Air Station in North Dakota.

"We take care of the entire Front Range - Peterson and its tenants, CMAFS, Fort Carson. It's nice we are so close together. We reach out to Thule Air Base too," he said. "We have an intense workload compared to other bases."

For more information visit 21fss.com and click the Development tab.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui