News | May 1, 2020

DLA PaCEr halfway to fulfilling career milestone

By Leon Moore DLA Aviation Public Affairs

Editor’s note: Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Public Affairs is running a series of stories profiling the DLA Pathways to Career Excellence (PaCE) Program and the experiences of those who are just beginning the program, those halfway through and those who have successfully graduated. Today, we spotlight Alyzza Mace, inventory management specialist, Material Planning Division, Planning Process Directorate. She has reached the midway point in the two-year program.

Alyzza Mace chuckled when asked what it was like starting the DLA Pathways to Career Excellence (PaCE) Program.

“When I first got in the program, I was like wow, what did I get myself into. It was like school and that’s what I was trying to avoid,” she said. “I don’t like school.”

Mace, an inventory management specialist in the Original Equipment Manufacturing Branch of the Material Planning Division of DLA Aviation’s Planning Process Directorate, just reached her one-year milestone in the program.

The DLA PaCE Program is not a school in the sense that Mace was referring to. It’s a two-year training program designed to train entry-level personnel for subsequent advancement to the journey-level in professional, administrative and technological career fields. This is accomplished through on-the-job assignments, cross-training, rotational assignments and formal training.  

Participants, like Mace, enter the program at predominantly the General Schedule (GS-7) pay level and are targeted to the GS-11 or GS-12 level upon successful program completion. While in the program, participants are permanent, full-time employees with competitive salaries, benefits, and potential career advancement opportunities.

Mace started her journey April 2019 under the supply management track.

“I’m happy I applied for the PaCE program. I would for sure recommend it to others who may be thinking about it,” she said.

Tamika Richmond, a career program administrator in the Career Development Branch of DLA Aviation’s, Command Support Directorate oversees the supply track.

She said the program encompasses a training curriculum that is comprehensive of policies and procedures, job aides, modules, exercises, live work, assessments and student feedback surveys.

Richmond said it starts with six weeks of local foundational training, which includes introductions to the Defense Department, DLA, military coding, enterprise business systems and an understanding of a vast array of DLA jobs, roles and responsibilities.

The training includes guest speakers from DLA Aviation senior leadership who ensure the PaCErs have a holistic understanding of the activity’s mission and core processes, she said.

Once local training is completed, Richmond said job-specific training in positions such as customer account, customer support and resolution specialists or demand and material planners, begins and runs between eight to 16 weeks.

At that point, they transition into the on-the-job training phase, which for Mace, meant working in the Original Equipment Manufacturing Branch of the Material Planning Division within the Planning Process Directorate, where she manages and is responsible for the overall health of sole source National Stock Numbers, ensuring DLA has the material at the right time, and place to satisfy customer needs.

“Since I’ve been on the floor, I’ve been able to learn even more and have taught myself to understand how this whole thing works,” she said.

Audrey Berry, chief of the branch Mace is working in, said she knew Mace was a homerun hire from the moment she arrived.

“When you are the new person on the block, you might be a little intimidated, but Mace had no problem getting up and going to see her teammates and asking them questions about what they do,” Berry said.

Carolin Harris, a DLA Aviation material planner and 2018 PaCE graduate, became Mace’s first-line supervisor September 2019, a month after Mace arrived in the branch.

She echoed what Berry said but took the praise one step further.

“Because I was a PaCEr and I have high standards for myself, I was expecting high standards from her as well,” Harris said.

“I’m overjoyed that someone would give me the push, because it gives me more goals to aim for,” Mace said.