BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
I’m Liz Norvey, and I’m currently near the end of my first year in the Pathways to Career Excellence Program. As a Property Disposal PaCER, my job is to learn about Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services and its customers.
The PaCE Program is a two-year program that takes PaCERs from a general schedule-7 employee to a GS-9. Once PaCERs complete their second year, they graduate as a GS-11.
In Disposition Services, things run a little differently than in other Major Subordinate Commands. Here, PaCERs get some very unique experiences, like shadowing the Director of DLA Disposition Services for an entire week. PaCERs in DLA Disposition Services also move to a field site for their second year in the program and that site will serve as their assignment when they complete the program.
DVIDS - Video - DLA DS PaCER Video Complete (dvidshub.net)
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t plan on joining the PaCE Program. My degree is in English, which doesn’t seem to intersect much with the disposition of property. But, when the pandemic hit, most of my career options were shot, and I ended up working at Dollar General and Cracker Barrel – not exactly my dream job. Although it wasn’t what I expected to be doing, when the job listing came out for the PaCE Program, it was an amazing opportunity to start a career and travel – not to mention it got me out of food service.
As I’m sure quite a few people in Disposition Services know, I grew up with the agency. Because of that, it always felt like the place my parents happened to go while I went to school, not the place I would one day end up working at. I had never heard of the PaCE Program before applying, but working here is probably one of the best decisions I’ve made so far.
Travel was a huge draw to the program for me. I haven’t had the chance to visit many places in the United States so the opportunity to move to another state was amazing. On top of that, since joining the program last November I have had the chance to go to six states that I’ve never been to before. This includes Florida, Colorado, Arizona, Virginia, Ohio and Texas.
My team is a great part of my experience. Though there are usually more of us, I have personally enjoyed having fewer PaCERs. It feels like we’re closer knit than we might have been had there been more of us.
I’m also looking forward to meeting the next group of PaCERs. I am a part of Group 42 and the program goes by twos. We already have one of the Group 44 PaCERs onboard, and he’s fitting in great. I have been working with current and former PaCERs to release “PaCE Spotlights” about their experiences in the program, and everyone in my PaCE group mentioned our team as being one of the best parts of the program so far. Two out of the three mentioned a particular mini-golf outing we all took together. By the end of September, all of the spotlights for my team members will be posted on the DLA website, so if you’d like to read more about their experiences, you should check those out, too!
Even outside of the PaCE Program, I have met some really amazing people who have helped me learn so much. I’m so thankful for everything everyone has done for me since I started with the agency; from giving overviews, to helping out with travel orders, to just supporting me. I can’t describe how much it means to me.
For my second year, I am assigned to Columbus, Ohio. I am definitely looking forward to joining the team down there. I think that going to Columbus will offer me even more opportunities to grow and learn, and I can’t wait to get started. It’s going to be a great jumping off point for my career, and a great experience on top of that.