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News | April 13, 2022

Continuous process improvement projects enhance PaCE curriculum

By Leon Moore, Public Affairs Specialist DLA Aviation Public Affairs Office

Over the years, the Defense Logistics Agency Pathways to Career Excellence program, formerly known as DLA Corporate Intern Program, has been a catalyst for bringing in and training the next generation workforce that DLA will depend on to continue providing outstanding support to the nations warfighters.

PaCE is a two-year program designed to train entry-level personnel for subsequent advancement to the journey-level in more than 10 professional, administrative, and technological career fields. This is accomplished through on-the-job assignments, cross-training, rotational assignments, and formal training (e.g., classroom, distance learning, web-based training, conferences and seminars).

Close to three years ago, Customer Account Specialist (instructor) Cynthia Stinchcomb, career program manager in DLA Aviation’s Business Process Support Directorate’s Training Division in Richmond, Virginia, spearheaded an effort to revamp the customer account specialist curriculum within the supply career field.

CASs process customer requirements by entering and reviewing orders, editing information for completeness and validity, determining availability of requested items and associated replacements/substitutes, and coordinating and validating shipment information.

They also process and expedite priority backorders related to routing supply problems for customer requisitions, receive and respond to emergency supply assistance requests and provide customers with timely information relating to specific items, including price, product uses, technical specification data, quality, and warranty information.

Stinchcomb said the objective for revamping the CAS curriculum was to create a holistic training curriculum containing current materials, learning tools, policy, linkage to the DLA Strategic Plan 2021-2026 and hands-on operational experience that successfully prepares each PaCEr for their position as a CAS.

The process of reviewing and updating the CAS curriculum training modules, practical exercises, hands on participation, feedback tools and assessments began in early Nov. 2019, completed less than two years later in Aug. 2021 and fully implemented Dec. 2021.

“I designed a formal curriculum review process and evaluated current curriculum requiring updates to the contents and the graphics, updated job aids and work instructions to depict current operating systems,” Stinchcomb said. “I then introduced practical exercises allowing participants hands on training application and modified the curriculum to be delivered in-person, virtual, or in a hybrid environment.”

Subject matter experts, including fellow PaCE instructors, operational supervisors and recent program graduates provided valuable feedback. Patricia McCarty, program manager for DLA Aviation’s Process Excellence and Continuous Process Improvement Division and Raymond Kimber, certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt contractor working within the same division, also provided coaching on a weekly basis throughout the process.

Stinchcomb said the revamping of the CAS curriculum was one of several continuous process improvement projects aimed at enhancing the overall PaCE curriculum.

“The CPI project was piloted for the CAS curriculum; however, the plan is to review processes for all PaCE disciplines and leverage lessons learned and improvement opportunities,” said Stinchcomb.