Coast Guard Sector Baltimore hosts non-rate career fair

Non-rates from around Sector Baltimore take part in the non-rate career fair, which had representatives from almost every rate, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. The local Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council, and chief’s mess discussed and put together the fair as a way to keep non-rates inspired and motivated while they wait orders to go to A-school. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Bill Putnam

Non-rates from around Sector Baltimore take part in the non-rate career fair, which had representatives from almost every rate, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. The local Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council, and chief’s mess discussed and put together the fair as a way to keep non-rates inspired and motivated while they wait orders to go to A-school. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Bill Putnam

Post written by PA2 David R. Marin and PA1 Brandyn Hill

Coast Guard Sector Baltimore opened its doors to host 87 non-rates and 10 Coast Guard hopefuls as part of a non-rate fair held in the Columbus Recreation Center at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013.

“The Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council discussed the issue of non-rate wait times and how to address those issues,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Aaron Studie, a member of the local chief’s mess. “One of the ways we thought of addressing it was to have a career fair.”

According to the Admin Notes & Active Duty “A” School List guide from Feb. 15, three A-schools have the shortest projected wait of no more than one year: Aviation Survival Technician, Food Service Specialist and Operations Specialist. The guide also lists four schools as having a projected wait of more than three years and six schools with a wait longer than four years.

Unlike other military services, Coast Guard members enter the service as non-rates, meaning they have not received specialized training. A non-rate must choose a job field and wait until a spot in that advanced training, or A-school, is open for them to attend, in order to advance to the grade of Petty Officer. Since attending A-school is required for advancement, this places even greater importance on ensuring non-rates are making informed decisions when they choose their career field.

“The LDAC and the local chief’s mess wanted to put together something that would help keep non-rates inspired and motivated so we started throwing around ideas,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Bill Putnam, the command senior chief of Sector Baltimore. “Senior Chief Studie took the lead and set up the fair.”

As the chief of the mess at Sector Baltimore, Studie has the ability to contact all the other chief petty officers in the sector. Through them, he was able to invite all non-rates in the area, giving them an opportunity to interact with personnel representing almost every rate in the service.

Chief Petty Officer Ilya Atamaniuk, an operations specialist with Sector Baltimore discusses his job and career with non-rates interested in the OS rating during the non-rate career fair held in the Columbus Recreation Center at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. The local Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council, and chief’s mess discussed and put together the fair as a way to keep non-rates inspired and motivated while they wait orders to go to A-school. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Bill Putnam

Chief Petty Officer Ilya Atamaniuk, an operations specialist with Sector Baltimore discusses his job and career with non-rates interested in the OS rating during the non-rate career fair held in the Columbus Recreation Center at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. The local Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council, and chief’s mess discussed and put together the fair as a way to keep non-rates inspired and motivated while they wait orders to go to A-school. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Bill Putnam

“Being that we don’t have an air station nearby, the hardest part was finding representatives for the aviation ratings,” added Studie. “Luckily the recruiters came through and made a couple of calls to the non-rate detailers in D.C., so the fair was basically all encompassing. The only rate that we weren’t able to include was the Coast Guard Musicians rating.”

The Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard attended with 50 personnel. Other participating personnel came from Stations Crisfield, St. Inigoes and the Aids to Navigation Teams, traveling approximately three hours to make it to the fair.

As a previous honor guard member, Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffery Ritter, the executive petty officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Chock, had been trying to schedule a tour of the local units.

“I piggy-backed off Senior Chief Studie’s work with the non-rate career fair,” said Ritter. “I know much of what goes into the day-to-day operations for the Honor Guard, and I know they get minimal operational exposure.”

As the wait time for non-rates to go to school fluctuates, it has been noted that some are transferring out of their first unit and arriving to their second as non-rates. The Coast Guard hasn’t been in this sort of situation in some time.

Non-rates in the Honor Guard don’t always get to see every rate in action and place their names on school lists influenced with minimal operational exposure.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffery Ritter, the executive petty officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Chock, speaks to non-rate members of the Coast GuardÕs Honor Guard about operational units and what to expect throughout their career as part of a tour coinciding with the non-rate fair held at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Md., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Ritter scheduled the tour to motivate the members as they await orders to their perspective A-schools. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class David R. Marin

Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffery Ritter, the executive petty officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Chock, speaks to non-rate members of the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard about operational units and what to expect throughout their career as part of a tour coinciding with the non-rate fair held at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Ritter scheduled the tour to motivate the members as they await orders to their perspective A-schools. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class David R. Marin

Participating in the fair and being able to tour a small harbor tug like the Coast Guard Cutter Chock, Station Curtis Bay, an aids to navigation team and the Coast Guard Cutter James Rankin gives the Honor Guard members the ability to spend some time with units and their crews to ask questions and get re-energized for school and the rest of their career with the Coast Guard.

Studie said he plans to use the success of their non-rate career fair as an opportunity to share the idea with the Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council as a best practice and way to keep non-rates motivated as they await the advanced training they will use throughout the rest of their Coast Guard careers.

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