ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
In a move to help bolster th
e ongoing maintenance shortage, Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service and the Directorate of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, known as A4, began a new Air Reserve Technician recruiting program in October 2017. Twelve ART recruiters were assigned to different bases based on the volume of maintenance ART vacancies.
The fruits of their joint labor is starting to pay off as the first recruiter has reached his annual goal. Tech Sgt. Anton Banks, an ART recruiter at Beale Air Force Base, California, reached his goal in early May.
“The efforts of Tech Sgt. Banks, and the rest of our ART recruiters, are having an immediate effect helping bring new and talented individuals eager to serve as aircraft maintainers,” said Maj. Gen. Kathryn J. Johnson, A4 director. “I could not be happier with our recruiters charged with finding our future leaders.”
Banks appreciates the distinction of being the first ART recruiter to attain his yearly goal.
“It feels really good to be able to pass the finish line, since none of the ART recruiters really knew what to expect,” Banks said. “I attribute my success to my location and the rapport I have built with my local units, force support squadron and civilian personnel office.”
ARTs are full-time, dual-status civil service technicians responsible for training and ensuring the Reserve provides combat-ready Airmen. They also perform Reserve duty on unit training assembly weekends.
From the A4 standpoint, building up the maintenance ART program is a priority, since the current average full-time manning is approximately 71 percent, as opposed to 82 percent in 2012.
“We have a long way to go on this initiative as we now have more than 1,800 full-time ART vacancies across the nation,” Johnson said. “The new accessions entering our workforce today will become combat-ready Airmen who will play an integral part in training future maintainers responsible for generating combat capability necessary to fight the battles of today and the future.”
For the foreseeable future, Johnson said the active and reserve components must continue restoring readiness by focusing on hiring, training and retaining the workforce.
“We must continue our efforts to recruit those who wish to serve in the Reserve by showcasing what the Air Reserve Technician program has to offer,” said Johnson.
Like with all new jobs, there have been some learning curves and trial and error for ART recruiters, but Banks attributes his relationships with his early success.
“The first challenge is getting the name out there and making sure that the units, force support squadron and civilian personnel office trust you,” Banks said. “I overcame this by attending wing civilian personnel manning meetings, setting up meet and greets with all the selecting officials to inform them of why I am here and how I could help.”
He said he would also just go spend time at the units to see exactly how he could assist them and make their lives easier.
“The only thing out of my control is how fast the process can go since everything runs through AFPC,” he said. “The main complaint I hear from the applicants, units and civilian personnel office is that it takes too long to become an ART.”
Master Sgt. Charles Gillespie, the ART program manager for AFRC Recruiting Service, said the RS goal is to provide awareness to the ART program by having boots on ground. A second goal is to provide customer service to applicants and hiring officials that gives them a focal point for information and allows them to address their concerns with other agencies in the process.
“Tech Sgt. Banks is allowing himself to be a resource for his local wing,” Gillespie said. “In recruiting the saying is ‘be the mayor of your wing.’ This does not mean you need all the answers. It simply means having the ability to be resourceful on how to get a task accomplished by working through multiple agencies and removing barriers. This is the gift that Banks and many of the ART recruiters possess.”
According to Gillespie, another trait that Banks possess is an even keel in the way he conducts business.
“Banks is a very mellow recruiter and he doesn’t allow his highs to get too high and his lows to get too low,” Gillespie said. “This allows him to be focused on his goals and objectives. He will continue to do great things in Air Force Reserve Recruiting Service.”
Initially Banks said the move to being an ART recruiter was challenging, but he has learned to embrace the new aspects of it.
“The major difference with being an ART recruiter is you do not fully control the process like you would as a line recruiter,” Banks said. “It was a difficult transition for me because I want to know every step and where my leads are in the process. I am not sure if I would say that it has been a better fit but I do like learning new things and getting the chance to work with the local in-service recruiters and key base personnel.”
Here is a sampling of what Banks does for people interested in becoming an ART: helping build resumes, assisting in navigating USA Jobs, sending notifications when particular jobs are advertised, conducting face-to-face interviews, attending pre-separation briefings and emailing Inactive Ready Reserve members.
“The only thing that is better or easier is not having to deal with MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) constantly,” Banks said. “Working on base makes it easier for me to meet and build relationships with all of the key senior NCOs and commanders.”
People interested in becoming an ART can contact their local recruiter or call (800) 257-1212 for more information. For more detailed information about the ART program visit: www.arpc.afrc.af.mil/service-center/assignments/
“If any recruiter out there has leads or applicants who are interested in becoming an ART, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your local ART recruiter,” Banks said. “We do not take any accession credit away from you at all. Let us focus on the ART side while you focus on getting them into the Air Force Reserve.”
For Johnson and her team at A4, they know the process will take time, but are pleased with the effort thus far.
“I extend my sincere thanks to the entire Recruiting Service,” Johnson said. “The work accomplished today will pay dividends in the future! To those looking to join the exciting life of the military, know the Air Force Reserve has a home for you where you can have a long, productive and worthwhile career helping protect our nation.”