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News | Sept. 14, 2021

Open communication builds connections, answers questions

By DLA Energy Public Affairs

“Coffee with the Commander” and “Donuts with the Deputy” sessions offers monthly opportunities for Defense Logistics Agency Energy employees to participate in virtual chats with their Commander or Deputy Commander. 

During these leadership engagements, audiences are broken into different groups to ask questions, talk about issues or concerns in a personal open forum. 

“The sessions are an opportunity to have informal discussions with the workforce,” said Drake Utley, Culture Climate Program Manager. “These engagements along with other programs like the Shadow Program and Brown Bag lunches are part of DLA Energy's enduring culture program.”

The DLA Energy Culture and Climate Program is designed to encourage multi-level transparent communication within the organization through a variety of opportunities. 

Recently, an employee asked how junior acquisition employees can further broaden their skillsets, either in technical or leadership capacities, after completing their required Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act and other DLA certifications. 

“Acquisition-coded employees that have completed their required training and are in good standing are eligible to apply for other DLA educational programs,” said Laceenis Fordham, DLA Energy Career Management Specialist. “The opportunities include career broadening experiences that range from two weeks immersion training to six months rotational assignments throughout the Agency.”

Ditu Kasuyi, division chief of the DLA Energy Acquisition Workforce Development & Intern Center, expanded on Fordham’s response and outlined several suggested areas employees should consider for skills and experience. 

  1. Commodity Training. Business units across DLA Energy handle various commodities whether that is bulk fuel, alternative fuels, aerospace products, etc. Commodity training can include internal trainings provided by DLA Energy Procurement Process Support Directorate or attending industry conferences. 
  2. Industry Training. DLA Headquarters offers two, two-week industry training courses. The University of Virginia, Darden School of Business “DLA Insights into Industry Management” course and the University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School DLA “Understanding Government-Industry Relationship in Sustainment” course. These courses show students current and cutting-edge business practices, helps them recognize business risks and opportunities, and trains them to anticipate potential changes in private businesses.
  3. Experiential Learning. This is an opportunity for employees to apply what they have learn to solve real-world challenges. They can identify special projects and join cross functional teams to solve problems that are impacting mission support. One example is the Shadow Program, established as part of DLA Energy’s employee development program allows employees to choose the senior leader, they want to shadow for professional development opportunities, networking and a broader understanding of the whole of DLA Energy. Another opportunity is to apply for or the DLA Enterprise Program. Enterprise assignments are cross-organizational, at the general schedule 11 through 15 level, and range in length from 3 to 12 months. Nomination documents, assignment descriptions, and program information are posted on the DLA Enterprise Rotation Program web page.
  4. Soft Skills training consists of communication skills, work ethic, emotional intelligence and a other personal attributes crucial for career success. Soft skills courses are available through the DLA Learning Management System; Level 400 courses at Defense Acquisition University website; Fourth Estate DACM Leadership and Talent Management Portfolio; and DLA Executive Develop Programs (CAC enabled link)
  5. Hard Skills Training. Developing skills to increase employee productivity, capacity and efficiency is important. Analytical and advanced Excel spreadsheet skills will be needed in deepening the Energy’s capacity to make data driven decisions. PPSD has a list of recommended analytics and advanced information management courses.
  6. Expanded Acquisition Training. Expand knowledge in other acquisition areas. Defense Acquisition University offers courses in Contracting, Purchasing, Small Business, Life Cycle Logistics and Production Quality and Manufacturing. 

In late September, the FY22 DLA Executive Develop Programs (CAC enabled link) solicitation email will be announced.  DLA’s EDP courses are grounded in leadership, developmental in nature, and intended to help leaders effectively navigate and manage leadership challenges and develop leadership competencies critical to maintaining supply chain excellence.  Courses range in length from a few days to a few months and eligibility requirements vary by course

Developing the Agency’s current and future leaders is an integral part of DLA’s culture and succession management. Whether you want to cultivate new skills or seek leadership roles, DLA Energy champions an environment that encourages employees to reach their full potential and sustain a strong workforce to meet emerging mission requirements.