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Shadow Program provides opportunity, education for Airmen

The Enlisted Shadow Program was designed as a means to educate and train Airmen in a selected career of their choosing. The interactive concept will give participants an opportunity to witness other Airmen’s daily routines and learn what they do, how they do it, and experience first-hand how they directly impact the mission here at Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Jan Kays/Released)

The Enlisted Shadow Program was designed as a means to educate and train Airmen in a selected career of their choosing. The interactive concept will give participants an opportunity to witness other Airmen’s daily routines and learn what they do, how they do it, and experience first-hand how they directly impact the mission here at Vandenberg. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Jan Kays/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- For many Airmen, knowing what job they want can be a constant struggle, before and after they reach their first duty station. The ones who know they'd prefer a change in career may be unaware of how to diversify their skills and branch out into a new occupation. Fortunately, a new program has emerged that will allow these Airmen the opportunity to not only shadow their desired career for a day, but also perform hands-on training, like they would in their own office.

The Enlisted Shadow Program was designed as a means to educate and train Airmen in a selected career of their choosing.

"The program is designed to give Airmen a better understanding of the functions performed by the various AFSCs here on base," said Master Sgt. Enrique Santiago, 30th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor. "It's very interactive and participants will have an opportunity to witness Airmen in action. You'll get a glimpse into their daily routines and learn what they do, how they do it, and experience first-hand how they directly impact the mission here at Vandenberg."

For Airmen who are interested, the sign-up process is swift and simplified.

"Through the Vandenberg Rising Six SharePoint page, on the main page, there is a calendar that will display the available dates as well as the AFSCs," said Staff Sgt. Bryan Karason, 30th FSS NCOIC of assignments. "Once a date has been determined, there is an excel spreadsheet that lists the current points of contact for their respective units and the process on how to sign up."

While there are a multitude of AFSCs currently available, the long-term goal of the Enlisted Shadow Program is to make every Vandenberg AFSC accessible for participants.

"As of right now there are currently 13 enlisted AFSCs," said Karason. "Our goal is to have every AFSC, to include special duties such as Military Training Leaders, Airman Leadership School instructors and First Sergeants, available for shadowing."

Due to its in-depth nature, the program also provides a sense of appreciation for its participants.

"To me it's all about the whole Airmen concept - one team, one fight," said Santiago. "Through this program, I believe Airmen will develop both a greater respect and appreciation for what others are doing. Hopefully we can dispel a lot of the rumors out there. For example, personalists are not just 'paper pushers', Security Force members don't just 'ride around all day', and Civil Engineer members don't just 'fix roads'. There's a whole lot more going on - things that truly keep us safe, our nation safe and sustain our 24/7 mission."

For members of Team V, concepts like the Enlisted Shadow Program are welcome additions.

"The program is 90 percent geared toward retaining eligible Airmen to give them a glimpse into an AFSC they may be interested in retraining into," said Karason. "The other 10 percent is geared to educating and establishing a different perspective. This is a tool I wish was available when I was a young Airman. Instead of flipping through pages and reading about what the enlisted AFSCs encompass, this program can deliver a more hands-on approach and personal experience."

For more information about the Enlisted Shadow Program, please contact Staff Sgt. Bryan Karason at 805-605-0289, or visit the Vandenberg Rising Six section of the SharePoint website.