The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support celebrated the most recent group of students to complete the Pathways to Career Excellence Program during a graduation ceremony Nov. 19 in Philadelphia.
The ceremony was a packed house, filled with family, friends, supervisors and coworkers of the 139 graduates from all five of DLA Troop Support’s supply chains, as well as the respective Philadelphia offices of DLA Contracting Services and DLA Aviation.
DLA Troop Support Deputy Commander Richard Ellis expressed his gratitude to the graduates, who committed themselves to completing the challenging two-year program. He also noted the success that the agency experienced over their time in the PaCE program.
“The organization has seen growth in sales, supported a number of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts, including three major hurricanes in 2017, and continues to provide superior support to the warfighter and our other valued customers, and you were a huge part of that,” he said. “And I don’t take that lightly. Over the last three years, our growth in sales has been over $5 billion.”
He added that during DLA’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, PaCERs were sent to Jacksonville, Florida, to procure and track more than 30 million pieces of equipment.
“We expected more from you than, I think, any other classes,” he said. “We had production we were expecting from you that was well above what should be expected of you, to keep pace with the material availability we had to maintain for our customers.”
Putting the warfighter first and meeting customer needs is at the heart of what the PaCE graduates will continue to do during their careers at DLA Troop Support, Ellis said.
“Right now, at this very second, there are men and women serving all across the globe in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, whose lives depend on the work that you do,” he said. “Your success depends on you. Our warfighters and customers depend on your success.”
Pam Latker, DLA Training Career Management Division chief, urged the graduates to continue their professional development and education throughout their careers at DLA during her remarks.
“In our agency, people are our number one priority, and investing in our future and developing the workforce is the key to our agency’s success,” Latker said. “Your journey with DLA has entered a new stage now, and it’s time for you to take ownership of your career.”
Latker also stressed the importance of being happy at work, and offered the graduates some suggestions on staying positive at their jobs.
“A positive attitude that you bring to work becomes infectious and inspires those around you,” she said.
During the ceremony, Ellis thanked Latker for her years of service to the PaCE program, adding that this was the last graduation ceremony she will attend prior to her retirement.
“Pam has been responsible for ensuring that more than 1,000 employees were well integrated into DLA Troop Support alone,” Ellis said. “You can imagine when you add in…all the other PaCERs we have throughout the enterprise, that is an incredible, impactful [number] on the enterprise.”
PaCE is a two-year training program for entry-level personnel that provides advancement in professional, administrative and technological careers. Students work full-time while receiving a salary and health benefits. They also have on-the-job assignments, cross-training, rotational assignments and formal training.
To learn more about the PaCE program and working at DLA, click here.