HomeNewsArticle Display

AFICA partnership delivers COOL program for Airmen

Russell Gray, Air Force Credentialing Opportunities On-Line director, explains the AF COOL program to an Airman following a briefing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Air Force Installation Contracting Agency recently partnered with Air University and The Barnes Center for Enlisted Education to deliver a follow-on contract for AF COOL. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie)

Russell Gray, Air Force Credentialing Opportunities online director, explains the AF COOL program to an Airman following a briefing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Air Force Installation Contracting Agency recently partnered with Air University and The Barnes Center for Enlisted Education to deliver a follow-on contract for AF COOL. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kevin Gaddie)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) -- In partnership with Air University and The Barnes Center for Enlisted Education, the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency recently delivered a follow-on contract to help enlisted Airmen get civilian-recognized credentials for their post-Air Force careers.

The Air Force Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (AF COOL) program was created as an alternative option for Air Force members to earn civilian industry recognized credentials and licenses. The program’s part of the Air Force Virtual Education Center.

Prior to AF COOL, Airmen could use credentialing programs through the GI Bill, as well as a program that had little to no restraints, said Russell Gray, AF COOL director.

“The problem with the latter program is that there was little to no return on investment for our military members or the military,” Gray said, since Airmen were getting licensures for things like real estate and small engine mechanics that they couldn’t use in support of their Air Force jobs.

Additionally, many only thought to get the credentialing at the end of their careers.

“AF COOL has created a paradigm shift,” Gray said. “Helping our enlisted Airmen obtain certifications earlier in their careers and exercise those credentials and licensures to show industry representatives that our military members have the proficiencies to support their needs in the civilian sector.”

According to the AF COOL website, credentialing “continues to professionalize the enlisted force by providing up-to-date industry-recognized credentials” in an Airman’s Air Force job and it “provides a way for Airmen to prepare for civilian life by ensuring that they are ready for work in the civilian sector.”

“Through industry recognized professional certificates and licenses, civilian employers can immediately recognize the skill sets that veterans bring to our communities nationwide,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Fahrner, AFICA’s 42nd Contracting Squadron commander. “I’m excited that our Airmen have access to this important transition program.”

Through AF COOL, Airmen can get background information about credentialing and licensing to include eligibility requirements and resources to prepare for exams and identify licenses and certifications for their specific Air Force specialty codes. Airmen will also find information on how to fill gaps between their Air Force training and experience, civilian requirements and find resources to help them gain civilian job credentials.

Although Airmen can only receive tuition assistance on approved credentials, they can view specialties they may be interested in for future planning, the AF COOL website noted.

Since the launch of AF COOL in March of 2015, the program has grown over 300 percent and garnered the attention of senior Air Force and industry leaders, Gray said.

More than 9,000 Airmen have used AF COOL since its inception, saving them more than $15 million in individual costs associated with credentialing and licensing.

“The ability to provide the world’s best Airmen with the world’s best academic resources is key to the ability of the U.S. Air Force to continue our core values of being able to fly, fight and win,” Gray said.

According to Gray, the AF COOL program wouldn’t be operational today if not for the support and dedication of the Maxwell AFB, Alabama, AFICA team.

“From senior leaders to Airmen working in the back office, the contracting team here, as a whole, became a lifeline for the more than 280,000 enlisted Airmen and the benefits that are provided to them through AF COOL,” Gray said.

To find out more about AF COOL and the support it provides to civilian credentialing, visit the Air Force’s Virtual Education Center at https://afvec.us.af.mil/afvec/Public/COOL/.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
#Congrats to the #USAF 2019 Secretary of Defense Environmental Award winners! https://t.co/5j07VznEsc
RT @DeptofDefense: For 41 years, the Global Positioning System has helped us find our way in the world. It’s a system that our modern way o…
#DYK: In 2015 the worldwide C-17 fleet reached 3 million flying hours. The equivalent of flying around the #Earth 5… https://t.co/U01R6Y1gPe
#USAF and @Nationals partner up to teach 40 new commanders and their spouses leadership techniques.… https://t.co/doApMhiIWX
#Airmen & #Soldiers in #Kuwait teamed up to train military working dog handlers on decontamination of their K9s in… https://t.co/QtlvQGUgyF
.@179AW #Airmen know the hardest part isn't the jump, it's the preparation for the heavy drop beforehand. https://t.co/WMV2fBXN2x
.@HQUSAFEPA #Airmen combined their capabilities to provide disaster relief to those affected by #CycloneIdai, deliv… https://t.co/kzkdQA8TOS
The results are in as #USAF announces findings from a year-long review on electronic warfare. Read on for more on t… https://t.co/wAEDCRjj5L
Congratulations to the Lance P. Sijan Leadership Award recipients! Named in honor of the first @AF_Academy graduate… https://t.co/fiOTVLfrpD
RT @SecAFOfficial: Our military must have the ability to see what is going on around the world, quickly and without interruption...and this…
#USAF #Airmen and firefighters from five #CentralAmerican countries develop bonds with team-building training durin… https://t.co/An5wJIt0B6
#Brrrt! Check out this video of our hawgs training in the Philippines. #Warthog #Pilsung https://t.co/cL8E1oE5Ob
RT @SecAFOfficial: Today, the family & friends of Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole celebrated his legendary life. Dick and the rest of the Dool…
On the 77th anniversary of the #DoolitlleRaid, #USAF leaders, #Airmen, and the family and friends of Lt. Col. Richa… https://t.co/RE4wWGQe4t
.@GenDaveGoldfein to the family of Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole: Your father and grandfather was larger than life. https://t.co/5QnT5IufeN
.@SecAFOfficial pays tribute to the #DoolittleRaiders during the Celebration of Life Ceremony for Lt. Col. Richard… https://t.co/4jlAYfqdCa
The first to take-off from the U.S.S. Hornet on April 18, 1942, is the last to land. We celebrate the memory of… https://t.co/WbkKxHSIY1
RT @PDShinkman: .@GenDaveGoldfein @SecAFOfficial greeting family and friends of Lt. Col. Dick Cole, the last Doolittle Raider who passed aw…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Join me today as "big blue" gathers with family & friends to celebrate one of the rare giants of the #GreatestGenerati
.@GenDaveGoldfein and 11 air chiefs plunge into deep discussion on the changing nature of #space.… https://t.co/T8aKZI8rHj