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Education center offers AFIT distant learning broadcasts

VANDENEBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Mr. Dan Hayes, a member of the 30th Force Support Squadron, and Mr. Steven LeDoux, a member of the Joint Functional Command Component for Space, attend a distant learning course at the base education center here Wednesday, April 7, 2010. The class is one of many offered through distant learning, which is a mechanism utilized by the Air Force to allow its personnel to attend training without the burden of temporary duty allocations and loss of manpower. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina)

VANDENEBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Mr. Dan Hayes, a member of the 30th Force Support Squadron, and Mr. Steven LeDoux, a member of the Joint Functional Command Component for Space, attend a distant learning course at the base education center here Wednesday, April 7, 2010. The class is one of many offered through distant learning, which is a mechanism utilized by the Air Force to allow its personnel to attend training without the burden of temporary duty allocations and loss of manpower. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina)

VANDENEBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Capt. Tyler Westerberg, a member of the 381st Training Squadron, asks a question during the National Security Personnel Systems Performance course at the base education center here Wednesday, April 7, 2010. The class is one of many offered through distant learning, which is a mechanism utilized by the Air Force to allow its personnel to attend training without the burden of temporary duty allocations and loss of manpower. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina)

VANDENEBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Capt. Tyler Westerberg, a member of the 381st Training Squadron, asks a question during the National Security Personnel Systems Performance course at the base education center here Wednesday, April 7, 2010. The class is one of many offered through distant learning, which is a mechanism utilized by the Air Force to allow its personnel to attend training without the burden of temporary duty allocations and loss of manpower. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kerelin Molina)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Vandenberg Education Center will offer Air Force Institute of Technology distant learning broadcast training courses here May 3 - 7 and May 17 - 21.

Distant learning courses are tools the Air Force uses to allow its personnel to attend training while avoiding the burden of temporary duty allocations and a loss of manpower.

"Distant learning at Vandenberg serves hundreds of members annually via satellite broadcast, on-site courses and on-site seminars to deliver job-related education to the workplace," said Mr. Robert Burrs, Vandenberg's distant learning administrator. "The education center here offers three classrooms for distant learning that can accommodate up to 20 people per classroom."

The Vandenberg Education Center is committed to providing distant learning opportunities to eligible members because of the flexibility and convenience of the program, said Lydia Beatty, a Vandenberg Education Services counselor.

"We understand the importance of being able to maintain and continue educational pursuits in an environment where TDYs and deployments are extensive," Ms. Beatty said. "Approximately 71 percent of servicemembers are currently taking distance learning courses, and the distant learning students at Vandenberg mirror those numbers."

The AFIT distant learning programs are available to all military and civilian personnel of the U.S. government. Base contractors are also eligible on a case-by-case basis if space is available.

"Since these are certified military courses through the AFIT Civil Engineering School, they are not available for general family members or civilians unless they are employed by the government in some fashion," Mr. Burrs said.

Examples of training courses include introduction to mechanical systems, project management, HVAC analysis and design contracting. The course listings and availabilities can be found at www.afit.edu/cess/Course_List.cfm.

"AFIT offers a wide variety of civil engineering and professional development courses," Mr. Burrs said. "Each course is designed for a specific audience and many courses have prerequisites and (or) education requirements. Each student should read the criteria closely to ensure they are eligible for the class prior to completing the application process."

There are a couple of steps applicants must accomplish in order to register for distant learning courses. First, applicants must have their supervisor's permission. Once permission is granted, course directors evaluate each application in terms of the course content and the person's credentials. If the applicant is eligible after the director's evaluation, the applicant may apply for a course. Applicants are encouraged to apply early because classes are filled on a first-come-first-serve basis.

"Distant learning is a valuable tool for the education, retention and manpower of a changing military in the face of budget deficits, reduction in forces and an ever-changing work market," Mr. Burrs said. "The benefit of having the military employee close to their units or squadrons, and to still be instructed by the best educators in the Air Force, is a testament to our technology, which should be exploited by all at Vandenberg."

For more information about AFIT distant learning courses, call Mr. Burrs at 605-5908.