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News | Jan. 6, 2023

Immersion training: Info Tech Specialist dive deep into training

By Darrin McDufford

Information Technology Specialist (ITS) Immersion Training is a two-week training course held at USMEPCOM offering in-depth training on various operations of software and hardware computer support. 

The course enables the ITS to engage with the complexity of the software allowing better support to the end-user—the USMEPCOM employee.

“This is a continuation of the push by J-6 to build better partnerships and empower all MEPS ITSs, so they have the skills and tools to provide robust local IT support for their MEPS.” said Matt Lince, chief information officer, J-6 Information Technology Directorate. “The MEPS ITSs are a critical part of providing IT service and are highly engaged in all aspects of the ongoing modernization initiatives at USMEPCOM.”

Direct computer support can be a solo business. The Jackson MEPS ITS finds himself on the frontline of support for nearly 60 personnel.

“ITSs are the MEPS customer support. We install software and hardware. We get involved with all the different programs and helping the staff out with computers that they use to process applicants,” said Darrell McQuirk, Information Technology Specialist, Jackson MEPS. “From operations, medical testing, printers, computers, telephones and other devices too, to complete the daily mission.”

McQuirk said this ITS immersion training allowed him to delve into the nuts and bolts of the software and customer support.

“The different programs that we have and how they're managed and how the hardware works and is integrated together,” said McQuirk. “I'd say it's meeting my expectations and even more the people’s expectations face-to-face.”

Being able to ask the questions he’s previously had directly during the training has been outstanding.

“It’s been one of the best trainings that I've had, just as far as being able to talk about all kinds of different issues that have come up. I am very informed. They have gone a little bit beyond what we did at the ITS conference,” said McQuirk.

Cydney Mchenry, Dallas MEPS ITS, echoed the comprehensiveness of the training.

“I thought back to the ITS conference that I attended earlier this year and based off that I had an expectation to get a lot of information. Some of the information I knew that I would know that's IT related but for me, I wanted to build on the MEPS IT knowledge and the MEPCOM processes and how things are done in MEPCOM,” she said.

According to Lince, this course was inspired during a larger ITS conference held in August 2022, where headquarters J-6 staff saw ITSs with a desire to go deeper in developing skills and relationships with J-6 personnel.

Learning and cooperation is a fundamental component of information technology support and this deep dive into the tools and processes strengthen the infrastructure of customer support.

“I've been learning about a lot of different management tools that I didn't know we had access to that would better help tracking, training, security, make sure that our systems are in compliance,” said Mchenry. “A lot of useful tools will be my biggest takeaway. Along with building the rapport and building relationships with people that I talk to on the phone all the time.”