Professionals professionally enhancing

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shandresha Mitchell
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
The MacDill Professional Development Center is unique in the aspect that it offers over four times more professional development opportunities than the average base.

Consisting only of a career assistance advisor and a First Term Airman Center team lead, the PDC team's job can get a little overwhelming at times, but between Senior Master Sgt. Melissa Walters, 6th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor, and Staff Sgt. David Halais, 6th FSS FTAC team lead, the job gets done.

"It's approaching two years for me as a career assistance advisor and it's an amazing job," Walters commented. "It's great because I continuously get to give back and provide opportunities to Airmen and see them capitalize on those opportunities, whether it's retraining, getting selected for a special duty or even just coming to a leadership class and seeing things from a different perspective."

On top of the mandatory courses, the MacDill PDC offers a plethora of leadership and team building opportunities amongst these are Airman Professional Enhancement courses, Company Grade Officer Professional Enhancement course, six John Maxwell leadership courses, writing clinics and ready for promotion clinics that focus on Air Force enlisted promotions.
"On a quarterly basis, we offer 16 to 17 different professional development opportunities," Walters said. "So throughout the year, we usually have over 70 opportunities for people to come for anything from a two-hour class to a four-day class for professional development."

There are many jobs at MacDill AFB and when they all come together at the PDC and talk about leadership it provides for a rare perspective.
"I got the opportunity to come here and I didn't know what the job entailed because the mentality here is different from that of a maintainer due to the structure. I thought it was only FTAC, selecting briefers and that would be it," Halais said. "But this job has enhanced my leadership skills, provided me with more professional growth and given me the opportunity to mentor the new generation of Airman in the Air Force."

Their mission requires them to be very organized and have proficient time management skills.

"It's a very busy job that requires a lot of research. Every Airman's situation is a little bit different, so if an Airman is asking me a question about retraining, special duties or opportunities available to them, they all require some research to help them get the right answer," Walters commented. "It's very time consuming and challenging, but it's also very rewarding."

The career assistance advisor is a three-year special duty billet and each quarter an FTAC team lead rotates in for a short period before another team lead begins to transition into the slot.
"It's impressive because of all the work they do here in comparison to other bases," Halais said. "I thought when I came here I would just be doing desk work, but it's much more. I have a newfound respect for the Airmen who fill these positions."