HomeNews

Edwards Air Force Base Launches Civilian Leadership School

Sheryl Tierney, Engineering Development Office Chief, and Col. Kirk Reagan, 412th Test Wing Vice Commander, pose for a photo during her graduation ceremony from the first ever Civilian Leadership School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. (Courtesy photo)

Sheryl Tierney, Engineering Development Office Chief, and Col. Kirk Reagan, 412th Test Wing Vice Commander, pose for a photo during her graduation ceremony from the first ever Civilian Leadership School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. (Courtesy photo)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

In a military installation where the civilian Airmen population dwarfs the active-duty component, professional development of the workforce becomes a daunting task for Team Edwards leadership.

Active-duty Airmen have an established and ever evolving roadmap that guides and develops their careers, but the civilian workforce lacks a formalized program.

In the spirit of innovation, the 412 Test Wing recently developed and held the first ever Civilian Leadership School (CLS), a mirrored hybrid of the Airman Leadership School (ALS) at Edwards Air Force Base, December 2-6.

Fifteen civilian Airmen attended the five-day course that covered topics such as leadership, development, and mentoring and coaching subordinates that was specific to the civilian workforce.

“There are many different civilian training opportunities on Edwards, but we didn't have anything specifically focused on developing front-line supervisors,” said Chief Master Sgt. Ian Eishen, the 412th Test Wing Command Chief.

The newly developed CLS course was tailored off the ALS construct and everything that was active-duty focused was removed, leaving the holistic leadership fundamentals that applied to the audience.

During a normally scheduled ALS class, civilian attendance is not unusual amongst other active-duty students. However, much of the ALS course content is not relevant to the civilian employee and geared toward the active-duty Airmen.

Despite many similarities in management and leadership shared between active-duty and civilian Airmen, certain subjects are particular to civilians and the CLS was tailored to meet the course objectives.

“Management is management, leadership is leadership and progressive discipline is similar, but there are mechanisms that the active-duty force can use that you can't use in the civilian world,” said Chief Eishen. “For example, the disciplinary process for active duty is different (from civilian counterparts), so you have to train differently.”

During the week-long course the students were exposed to various military and civilian influencers from Edwards. The curriculum consisted of classes and panels designed to talk to the civilian Airmen about leadership, mentorship and lessons learned. 

“We wanted to develop a course that was not too basic or not too advance,” said Staff Sgt. Erika S. Fabian-Guzman, ALS instructor at Edwards AFB. “To prepare for the CLS course, we had to be versatile and determine how to make the subjects relevant to the diverse civilian audience. We wanted to give them a solid foundation moving forward as leaders in their respective roles.”

The course took several months to develop and the ALS staff looked at the civilian private and public sectors, as well as past course feedback to pinpoint curriculum requirements.

At the end of the course, student feedback was very valuable and pointed to a genuine benefit to those who attended, according to Fabian-Guzman. This feedback will guide further development and improvement for the next iteration of CLS. 

The CLS is being touted as an introductory supervisor’s course for civilian Airmen and so far the course has received great reviews, according to Eishen. The active-duty component has an established continuum for Professional Military Education (PME); which is something Edwards is trying to replicate in the civilian sector.

“It's a test but it's a first of kind,” said Eishen. “The CLS is the first step in building a civilian Airmen continuing education program.”

Team Edwards’ long term goal is to create a continuum of civilian courses that will be designed to develop civilian Airmen throughout their career.

“We'll start with CLS and we'll figure out what works and what doesn't,” said Eishen. “Then we'll determine if have a gap in the mid-level supervisor’s training and if so, we will build a new course to solve that problem.”

So far, the biggest challenge facing the CLS is determining the scope of the program. With a civilian population of over 7,000 and class sizes at about 15 per CLS, Team Edwards still lacks the resources to push through a large amount of students.

“There’s no way we can handle the throughput that we need, so we're just scratching the surface,” said Eishen. “But right now, we're proving the capability and the business case for CLS. So we are going to keep adding classes and keep getting bigger so we can handle more people until we build the continuum of education that our civilian Airmen deserve.”

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.