Robins Air Force Base Gives Career Headstarts
to MSC Business Majors
Macon State College business majors participating in a
Student Career Experience Program at Robins Air Force Base are
shown with Base and College officials. Front row, left
to right, are Patsy Reeves, director of contracting at Robins;
students Patti Jackson, Danielle Johnson; Jill Armstrong and
Sonia Cervantes; and Dr. Linda Cooper, MSC business professor
and Student Career Experience Program coordinator. In
the back row, left to right, are Robert Williams, resources
management chief for RAFB's civilian personnel office,
students Jennifer Cook, Leon Castellano and James Davidson;
and Mike Hale, executive director of Macon State's Warner
Robins Campus and Robins Resident Center programs.
Growing up as a military dependent, Jill Armstrong decided early
on she wanted a career in federal government. After all, the
pay seemed good and the opportunities plentiful.
After graduating from Perry High School in 2000, Armstrong
entered Macon State College as a business management major in the
hopes of eventually getting a job at the Robins Air Force Base.
She didn't have to wait long.
Armstrong, 22, is one of seven Macon State business majors - all
juniors and seniors - recently chosen to participate in a
cooperative education program at Robins. While finishing her
bachelor's degree, she and the other students are working part -
time at the Directorate of Contracting with the possibility of full
- time employment after graduation.
"It's an excellent opportunity," Armstrong said. "The co -
op program will help me find out what careers are available at the
Base and learn more about working for the government."
Cooperative education experiences, or so - called "co - ops," are
nothing new at Robins, but they typically involve engineering majors
working high - tech jobs while finishing their degrees. This
is the first time the Directorate of Contracting, which negotiates
contracts with suppliers of services and equipment on behalf of the
Base, has hired business majors for a cooperative education program.
On the job, the Macon State business majors are putting their
budding professional skills to work through acquisition planning,
market research, dealing with procurement issues and negotiating
fair and reasonable prices for services and products.
"It may seem overwhelming, but we have partnered each student
with a highly qualified and experienced contracting officer who is
responsible for their on - the - job training," said Patsy Reeves,
contracting directorate director. "We're excited about this
program and what it means to us and the students."
This latest co - op is part of Macon State's Student Career
Experience Program, which is coordinated by business professor Dr.
Linda Cooper. Mike Hale worked with Base officials to organize
the contracting directorate co - op as executive director of Macon
State's Warner Robins Campus and the Institute for Business &
Information Management, the College's business and technology
"Macon State College is strongly committed to these kinds of
educational partnerships with the Base," Hale said. "It's good
for the Base and it's certainly good for our students."
Like Armstrong, Sonia Cervantes, another of the co - op students,
has long wanted a job at Robins Air Force Base. "When you
believe in the goals of your job," she said, "you know that you will
be willing to give it 110 percent."
To identify Macon State students with the best qualifications to
work at the contracting directorate, the College invited all junior
and senior business majors with at least a 3.0 grade point average
to apply for the cooperative education program. The seven
students were chosen from among those interviewed at the Base.
They began their part time jobs in mid - January and are working
20 hours per week while taking full class loads to finish their
degrees. The juniors are being paid at the federal GS - 04 pay
grade level, or about $11 an hour. The seniors are being paid
at the GS - 05 level, or about $13 an hour.
If the students complete their bachelor's degrees with at least a
3.0 grade point average, the Base will, if possible, offer the
graduates full - time jobs at the GS - 07 level, which is currently
$31,830 per year. Within two years of successful performance
in a full - time position, they will be eligible to move into jobs
at the GS - 11 level, currently $47,110 a year.
"About 40 percent of our civilian employees are eligible or
nearly eligible for retirement," said Robert Williams, chief of the
Civilian Personnel Office resource management branch at Robins.
"This program is a great way to replenish our workforce with highly
qualified people who have already had an opportunity to gain some
experience at the Base."
Hale is currently talking to Base officials about setting up
other cooperative education experiences. Plans call to have
students in future co - op programs rotate semesters of full - time
work with semesters of full - time study.
"These are such incredible opportunities for students that we
want to make sure as many as possible are made available," Hale
said. "When we can match up those opportunities with the
personnel needs of the Base, that makes it even more worthwhile."
Back To Top