Enlisted coursework starts here
Some areas of the Air Force Career Development Academy resemble the warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant was stored in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark.' Others areas are stocked with correlators and other shipping equipment. The site on Gunter, which requires its own zip code, handles the production and distribution of education material for enlisted Airmen under the direction of the Barnes Center. (Air Force photo/Christopher Kratzer)
Enlisted coursework starts here

by Christopher Kratzer
Air University Public Affairs

1/27/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Most people are not aware of a warehouse on Gunter with its own zip code, according to Maj. James Young, commandant of the Air Force Career Development Academy.

"I would venture to say that most of the Air Force population doesn't know we exist. They just don't understand what the capabilities we have are," Young said.

"It's crucial that the Air Force, as a whole, understands what we do," he said. "They know there are people writing these courses, they know they are receiving these courses, but what's the middle portion? That's what my folks do."

The Air Force Career Development Academy, which formed Jan. 1, handles the production and distribution of education material for enlisted Airmen under the direction of the Barnes Center.

Col. Stewart Price, commander of the Barnes Center, looks forward to tackling this task.

"The mission of the Air Force Career Development Academy is to focus on and produce career development courses (CDC's) for our enlisted force and weighted Airman's performance system (WAPS)," Price said. "The Barnes Center was established to focus on the continuum of enlisted education. A4/L (The program that preceded the AFCDA) remained on the Air University staff. Over time, we saw there was some synergy to be found in bringing production of CDC'c and WAPS into the Barnes Center for enlisted education."

Price said he hopes the move will improve efficiency over the previous arrangement and allow the academy to interface and improve courses across the Barnes Center.

"It will be an opportunity to be more effective and more efficient in the way that we produce our products, both in the former A4/L mission and the way we support our other programs," he said.

"We have an opportunity to contribute to all of those things. The processes we have to produce CDC's and WAPS, the production, the printing, the shipping is a similar process that we use for other parts of Barnes Center programs," Price said.

Chief Master Sgt. Grant Embrey echoed Price's statements on efficiency. The restructuring will allow them to operate under the same umbrella under which all enlisted education operates.

"I think it's important that the organization fall underneath the Barnes Center because it fits it all together into one piece," he said. "We share the facility with the Barnes Center and to have our commander on scene is very important for the organization."

In an ever-changing environment, enlisted education is critical to the Air Force mission. The AFCDA is critical piece of that puzzle, said Young.

"The United States Air Force has the best trained force in the entire world. Having the Air Force Career Development Academy gives us an entry level after tech school that provides the next level of training they need to progress in their career. We must have that for the best trained force in the world." With the AFCDA hitting its stride, Young believes it is positioned to continue impact enlisted education now and for years to come.

"I expect the Air Force Career Development Academy to continue to provide the great products we have throughout our history, which will continue to train our Airmen to lead into the 21st century and beyond," Young said.

"This year alone we have almost 64,000 Airmen in career development courses alone. To know that we affect them and what they're going to do with their career, it's truly a great honor," he said.