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    A Connection for Readiness: How a Commitment to Conducive Learning Environments Supports Guardsmen

    A Connection for Readiness: How a Commitment to Conducive Learning Environments Supports Guardsmen

    Photo By Kevin Valentine | Soldiers share an on-screen moment on May 16, in the distributive learning computer...... read more read more



    Story by Kevin Valentine 

    715th Public Affairs Detachment

    Over 25 thousand National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from all 54 states and territories, were based out of the District of Columbia National Guard Armory in support of the Capital Response missions since Jan. 6. National Guardsmen, some for months, left behind families, homes, careers or studies, while the nation was still in the grips of a pandemic crisis.

    Terri Jones, the distributive learning manager for the District of Columbia National Guard, made it her mission to provide a space where the Soldiers and Airmen could have some sense of normalcy and control amidst the uncertainty of an extended mission.

    “While they’re out there at the Capitol, they’re being told what to do. They can be cold or in the rain – they have no control,” Jones said. “I knew I had to make the DLC [Distributive Learning Center] a controlled environment where they can have a break.”

    Jones oversees D.C. National Guard’s DLC which is made up of four classrooms with nearly 100 computers all together and printing capabilities. Jones altered the hours of operation so that Soldiers and Airmen, no matter their patrol shift, could use the facilities to maintain contact with their families, complete required military training, maintain contact with their civilian employers, continue online civilian education or look for new jobs.

    “One young lady came up to me, I think she was from the Pennsylvania Guard, and she just said, ‘thanks,’” Jones said. “She told me she got the work done to get her associates degree in the DLC while on mission.”

    The DLC was not always so well positioned to support such a surge of users. When Jones first got to the DCNG twelve years ago, she was tasked with developing the DLC.

    “When I got here, we had 16 computers – as a native Washingtonian, I knew D.C. could do better,” Jones said.

    She’s lobbied for, and received the funds to remodel DLC classrooms, purchase new computers, sponsor computer-based learning courses in building spreadsheets and presentations, sponsor training with a local mass transit company who used the DLC to put D.C. Guardsmen through the computer-based bus driving simulations, and pushed for other creative ways to leverage technology to serve Guardsmen.

    Among all of Jones’ achievements with the DCNG DLC, one of the things she’s most proud of is the environment she creates. On days when she comes into the office, while on an alternate COVID schedule, she grabs her coffee, checks her emails for DLC or VTC support requests, checks for network connectivity and then she makes sure each classroom is clean and plugs in scented plugs.

    “I want them to feel welcomed,” Jones said. “It’s that little bit of comfort that helps them be able to really use the space.”

    While having successfully expanded the services and capabilities of the DCNG DLC, Jones is set on expanding even more. She’s pushing for more resources to support National Guardsmen – more classroom spaces, more supplies, more technical support staff to address connectivity, maintenance, and updating challenges. The way she sees it, more support means more opportunities for Guardsmen to stay connected, complete their mandatory training, further civilian career training and education which all equates to a National Guard that is even more always ready and always there.



    Date Taken: 05.26.2021
    Date Posted: 06.04.2021 09:46
    Story ID: 397515
    Location: WASHINGTON, DC, US 

    Web Views: 27
    Downloads: 0