Temporary Developmental Positions offer short-term employment opportunities for Soldiers

SANDSTON, Va. – A new initiative within the Virginia National Guard’s Human Resources Office aims to put select Soldiers on 120-day appointments as Title 32 Dual-Status Technicians. The program kicked off over the summer and seeks to accomplish several goals for both short-term and long-term readiness of the force, according to Lt. Col. Matthew Ritchie, deputy human resources officer for the Virginia National Guard.

“First, it broadens the experience base of junior Soldiers by providing them a period of full-time service in their career fields. They take back to their units their increased capabilities, making them more effective,” Ritchie explained. “Second, it gives Soldiers a taste of life as a full-time military technician, so they can make more informed decisions about their careers. Third, it generates greater interest in the career military technician program, which should lead to a larger and better pool of applicants for future career openings.”

The program targets the largest of the technician career fields, like surface maintenance, aviation maintenance, human resources and logistics. Selected Soldiers retain assignment and membership in their home units, but work full-time during the week as temporary technicians in the GS-07 pay grade. The full-time work they do has a direct relationship to the Soldier’s civilian program of study, either through a college degree or professional certification.

Spc. Lan Nguyen, currently assigned to Echo Company, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Company Team, took at advantage of the program this year. Nguyen was born in Saigon and emigrated with his family to the United States in 1994. He grew up appreciative for the freedom and opportunity of his adoptive homeland and wanted to serve his new country. In 2008 he enlisted as a mechanic in the Virginia Army National Guard, shortly before becoming a U.S. citizen. He’s worked in the maintenance department of the Marriot hotel chain for years and had recently considered seeking full-time work with the Virginia National Guard. His readiness noncommissioned officer saw the announcement for the new Temporary Technician Developmental Program, and notified Nguyen of the opportunity.

“For the last three months, I have learned a lot here at the supply shop,” Nguyen explained. During his short-term employment, he worked at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Sandston, Virginia, as a supply clerk and technician. “This is a great environment to work in and great people to work with. I really appreciate [having] such a great opportunity.”

Of Nguyen’s work at the facility, his supervisor, Sgt. Robert Black said, “Spc. Nguyen is very eager to learn about this program. He gets to experience what is is like to be a full-time technician. He has been very enthusiastic with learning about the job, and has been a great addition to our team.”

With a successful first season of the program coming to a close, the Virginia National Guard’s Human Resources Office expects to continue this program in the future, based on the success so far, according to Ritchie. The next round of short-term positions will likely come available in the spring.

Story by Lt. Col. Matthew Ritchie, with additional reporting by Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti.