by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
I.G. Brown Training and Education Center
4/19/2013 - MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- When
the message went out months ago that Airman Leadership School might be
offered in blended learning again through a satellite program there was a
colossal, "Please do this!!" response to Master Sgt. Kirk Hayes and his
Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center
The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center here strives to make
training convenient and cost effective for the Air Force. The huge
response from the field meant they uncovered a huge need, now they had
to dust off a once shelved program and begin anew.
"Interest far surpassed what we thought it was going to be," said Hayes, superintendent of the Satellite EPME program.
The TEC is the Air National Guard's primary force development center.
Its 85 Total Force staff members teach an average 18 EPME courses and
host more than 40 professional continuing education courses each year.
The Center's satellite business has been robust in recent years as
National Guard members, especially, work or attend college on the
weekdays and have little time to travel. The TEC has done well with its
satellite Noncommissioned Officer Academy.
That course, which teaches advanced leadership to technical sergeants
hoping to make senior ranks is a weeknight broadcast. It's currently
delivering the blended learning course to 115 Airmen at 11 installations
across the country.
Many more are noticing the Center's success as the only Air Force blended learning EMPE available.
"Working in conjunction with the National Guard Bureau, we decided to
try providing a satellite Airman Leadership Course for this spring to
see how popular it was and see how it works for the future," said Hayes.
The course will be taught for eight hours, Saturdays and Sundays, for
five weekends, followed by a two-and-a-half week in-resident session
The curriculum of the satellite is no different than the in-resident, Hayes said.
The instructors are confident they can get beyond the "dust off" phase
of a satellite product shelved in 2008, but it's too early to say how
effective they will be. They plan to monitor test scores to ensure it
meets all Air Force standards.
"The students won't notice it because of all the hard work to ensure
they get the same product as a physical classroom," said Tech. Sgt.
Jenny Sanchez, EPME instructor and NCOIC of the ALS Satellite program.
Sanchez and Tech. Sgt. Caleb Rose are serving as on-camera instructors
for this course. The center has about a half dozen instructors like them
who can teach all genres of NCOA and ALS, classroom and satellite.
"Sergeant Rose and I are fortunate to be the faces associated with the
satellite program because we are the on-camera instructors, but as a
whole, a greater TEC team is behind the vision of getting this out to
the Airmen who need it," said Sanchez.
And although the course once stopped, technology progressed. That's
where the TEC's niche of having a high-definition television studio and
broadcast network makes the broadcast feasible but not as easy as
warming up an overhead projector.
"We heard stories that it was done via satellite, but we are starting
everything from scratch here," said Master Sgt. John Anderson, who
manages a six-person team of broadcast technicians at the TEC's Media
The broadcast team and engineers pulled together to attack the
challenge. They started cross training and are designing new graphics
and show introductions. They also plan to share the weekend duty with
the mindset of gaining expertise as technical directors, so the course
will go on without a hitch.
"From seeing the success of how satellite NCOA works, I have a good feeling about it," said Anderson.
The first broadcast is scheduled, live starting May 4 from the studio,
which is in its 18th year of providing blended learning NCOA via its
"Warrior Network" satellite broadcast system.
"If we are as successful with satellite ALS as we are with satellite
NCOA, it's because of many working here to make that huge impact on the
Air Force," said Sanchez.
"I think she said it best," Rose added. "The satellite team is going to
give the best that we can, that being, we keep students enthralled,
entertained and educated throughout the weeks of broadcast. Then we will
meet them here to finish the in-resident part of course and seal that
impact on their leadership that it should."