Navy COOL Smart Choice for Future, Current Sailors


Story Number: NNS090602-18Release Date: 6/2/2009 11:04:00 PM
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By Gary Nichols, Center for Information Dominance Corry Station Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- With the current economic situation, the Navy's jobs, benefits and career opportunities are becoming even more attractive for some people eligible for military service.

The Navy may have a real edge over the other services when it comes to signing on new recruits thanks to a relatively new program, the Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-Line or Navy COOL program. This program provides funding for Navy enlisted personnel to obtain civilian licenses and certifications that are equivalent to Navy jobs or ratings. This is significant because Sailors now have a definite advantage in the civilian job market when they retire or when their enlistment ends.

The Navy COOL program helps make the Navy a smart choice for young men and women who are considering serving their country, but are unsure which job they want or which branch of the Armed Forces they wish to serve in.

Originally modeled on a program by the Army, the Navy COOL program has taken on a life of its own and grown exponentially in the scope of certifications it offers to Sailors in the two years the program has been in existence.

Navy COOL Program Supervisor Sam Kelley said his program is more robust than the Army's program because his team cross-linked every Navy specialty or rating with Department of Labor to ensure the Navy offered at least one civilian certification that matched every job in the Navy.

While it's true the Navy does need a large pool of applicants, it places an even higher priority on recruiting the best applicants possible. Someone who is interested in improving him or herself is likely to be a go-getter and someone who would take advantage of all that Navy COOL offers. That's the kind of person the Navy is interested in recruiting and retaining.

Some critics might argue that it doesn't make sense to provide Sailors with civilian certifications since they may cut and run as soon as their enlistment is complete.

According to Kelley, by the end of their initial enlistment, the Navy will have invested about $100,000 in training, pay, allowances, berthing, food and transportation for each Sailor.

Kelley and his colleagues have reported that intuitively, it would seem that Sailors would "jump ship" after receiving their credentials, but their metrics indicate that is not happening.

More than 2,400 Sailors have stayed in the Navy after obtaining their licenses or certifications through Navy COOL. The return on investment, or as Kelley likes to say "cost avoidance" since the Navy kept these Sailors instead of losing them to the civilian sector, is a rather impressive $240 million.

Undoubtedly some Sailors are leaving the Navy with newly minted credentials in tow, but Navy COOL Program Manager Keith Boring is not overly concerned by these occasional losses.

A trained and certified worker, Boring said, is surely contributing to society in a positive way, too, and that is not a bad thing because it is helping to keep the country strong. Plus, he said, someone who is successful in the civilian sector after receiving Navy training and having the Navy pay for his or her civilian certifications is a living, breathing recruiting poster for the Navy.

All Sailors can benefit from Navy COOL, even those potential Sailors who have yet to raise their hand and take the oath to serve their country. Navy COOL can help make active-duty Sailors better at their present job, too.

At some point in their careers, whether they serve for three years or 30 years, every Sailor must eventually take off their uniform and rejoin the civilian sector. Navy COOL will help make that transition easier and provide the necessary tools for that Sailor-turned-civilian to not only survive but thrive in what may be an unfamiliar civilian life.

For more information visit the official Navy COOL Web site at www.cool.navy.mil.

For more news from Center for Information Dominance, visit www.navy.mil/local/corry/.

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