HOUSTON MEPS, Tx. –
Houston MEPS recently organized its first ever Interservice Recruiting Committee (IRC) Operations Symposium. The symposium united MEPS military and recruiting personnel, fostering face-to-face connections to strengthen relationships, which are typically conducted electronically. Those relationships are critical, not only for mutual support, but for success in manning the All-Volunteer Force.
“Your MEPS’s relationship with your IRC partners is one of the most important things you will work on during your tour at the MEPS and can have an incredibly important impact on the climate and effectiveness of your station,” said Marine Corps Maj. Christopher Sczepanik, Houston MEPS commander. “Houston MEPS is constantly looking at ways to build relationships, decrease misunderstanding and build a productive partnership with the recruiting services.”
The Houston Operations Symposium took IRC operations officers to Camp Swift, Texas, for a comprehensive two-day, three-night event featuring classroom instruction and physical team-building activities. Attendees were able to operate in a field environment, fostering synergy through productive discussions on frequently misunderstood policies.
“The desired end state of the symposium focused on two main goals: increase service comprehension to mitigate the escalation of applicant issues and enhance relationships among members of the MEPS and Service Operations teams to foster a more positive and efficient working environment,” said Sczepanik.
In garnering interest in the symposium, Sczepanik surveyed potential attendees to identify areas with knowledge gaps. These results helped shape instruction topics and cohesion events.
“Significant buy-in from the collective IRC is required to conduct an interservice training exercise of this nature,” said Sczepanik. “This began by identifying and assessing our service partners’ communication methodologies as it relates to applicant processing. This revealed that Service Operations Teams had little to no direct training of internal MEPS functionality. The assessed knowledge gap within the Service Operations teams was the primary catalyst for the Houston IRC Operations Symposium.”
Topics led by USMEPCOM officers included common applicant issues, IRC roles and responsibilities and the prescreen process. Attendees were able to bond outside of the classroom during a 12-scenario reaction course and four-mile rope carry event. The symposium has already shown great results for the MEPS and recruiting partners.
“Overall, the training met its desired end-state and since the conduct of the Houston Operations Symposium, escalated applicant issues have reduced from two to four per week command team level escalations to one to two per month,” said Sczepanik.