2018-04-13 / Front Page

Paid internships an option at Fort Gordon

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

Like some of her colleagues, Amber De Los Santos was unsure of her next steps post-college graduation. Having recently graduated from Texas State University with a degree in communications and media, she consulted her father, an Army veteran who currently works for U.S. Installation Management Command in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He suggested that she apply for the Army Civilian Training, Education, and Development System.

To her surprise, the New Braunfels, Texas, native, was accepted into the program. Now she is working at Fort Gordon as a paid intern in the Director, Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security office.

ACTEDS is “a system that ensures planned development of civilian members through a blending of progressive and sequential work assignments, formal training, and self-development for individuals as they progress from entry level to key positions,” according to its website.

The program is fully funded program paid for by U.S. Army Installation Management Command, said Thomas Fitzpatrick, DPTMS director.

“It’s a great way to get your foot in the door to get some experience, to get some upward mobility in a fairly short period of time, and certainly for IMCOM the benefit is ... bringing in some fresh perspective and have an opportunity to grow the branch literally from the seed forward,” Fitzpatrick said.

Santos is about two months into a twoyear internship that she hopes will lead to permanent employment at Fort Gordon upon completion. Fitzpatrick said she will spend about one and a half years working with DPTMS then rotate amongst other directorates during her remaining six months to familiarize herself with what each does and see how it all comes together.

“If the Garrison has an open slot at the end, we have first dibs if the employee and the Garrison have an opportunity to hire the person,” Fitzpatrick said.

Santos is currently working on a project that includes writing a Memorandum of Instruction for Gate 6 and taking photographs of the site. Santos said the work is challenging and in line with her college degree.

“Anything that happens in the Garrison goes through Plans ... with the writing and communicating what everyone is supposed to do, everyone’s role ... it incorporates the stuff I had learned in my media law classes and also how to write.”

Learning how to write an MOI has been a bit of an adjustment because it is a lot different from college writing, she added.

“I had to drop (Modern Language Association) to the side and learn MOI writing,” Santos said, “and pick up new skills with Army writing, formatting, and military acronyms.”

Every day is an opportunity to learn something new and make a contribution to the workplace.

“The staff has been really great asking me for my input,” Santos said. “They say, ‘we’ve been here a while; we need a fresh new mind that has never worked here,’ and so I’ve been suggesting some ideas, which is really important to me,” Santos said.

Her experience has been very positive thus far; so much so that she purchased a home in Grovetown and looks forward to putting down roots here. Her goal is to learn as much as she can and continue working at Fort Gordon in some capacity after her internship expires.

She also encourages anyone who is interested in the ACTEDS program to pursue it.

“It’s kind of scary if you leave home and you’ve never lived on your own, but you’ll have so many travel opportunities, you’re learning so much, you meet so many contacts that will help you in the future ... I would absolutely recommend this,” Santos said.

Fitzpatrick said they are happy to have Santos onboard and that the benefits to having her are collateral.

“I hope that we dust off how to take somebody that knows very little about IMCOM or the Army and really give us all an opportunity to impart what we’ve learned over our years of service to those new folks and watch them grow and learn,” Fitzpatrick said.

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