By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Wallace Ciccarelli Jr., Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Hawaii
PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (NNS) -- Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam held a class May 3-4 to inform service members about the benefits of the United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP).
"The programs gives the military member the opportunity while active to complete their apprenticeship and journeyman certificate just like their civilian counterparts," said Kenneth Leadbetter, market outreach coordinator for USMAPS.
As of May 3, the program has helped more than 45,000 service members earn their professional certification administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) for free.
"This is a very easy program to get involved with," said Navy Counselor 1st Class Kurt Strouhschein, assigned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. "It can help those individually by using their work experience in competing in today's very competitive job market."
USMAP works with the DoL to provide nationally recognized apprenticeship programs that result in journeyman-level certificates of completion for all active-duty Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel with a high-school diploma or general education degree.
"With my retirement at the end of this year, this program gives me a better chance, not only to compete for a job at the Pearl Harbor Navy Shipyard, but also gives me the leverage to negotiate for higher pay," said Machinery Repairman 1st Class Charles Urban, assigned to USS Hopper (DDG 70).
During their apprenticeship, military members further their professional development through documented work experiences while performing their regular military duties without requiring any additional off-duty work.
USMAP requires service members to log all on-the-job training (OJT) hours to get credit for their work. Registered members may choose to record their hours online or through paper records by request. Both reports must be submitted to their records account on the website or by mail weekly, monthly and semi-annually. Each report requires a signature from someone in the member's chain of command to verify the hours.
"Coming out today gave me way more information than the Internet," said Sonar Technician Seaman James Breen, assigned to USS Lake Erie (CG 70). "Now I know that I can transfer all my work experience and [earn certifications] that people don't see as Navy experience but job experience."
Naval Education and Training command (NETC) recommends interested service members to sign up as soon as possible to receive credit for their OJT hours. Higher-ranking service members signing up for USMAP can receive a waiver to receive up to 50 percent of their OJT requirements.
According to the Department of Labor, every 2,000 OJT hours equals 144 hours of classroom instruction. Most certifications require 2,000 to 10,000 hours of OJT. An average Sailor doing a usual eight-hour work day five times a week can complete 2,000 hours every year. Some vocational oriented colleges even offer college credits for completed apprenticeships.
For more news from Commander Navy Region Hawaii, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrhawaii/.