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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Feb. 15, 2022

New: Career guides for the enlisted workforce 

By Chief Petty Officer Angelique Limongelli, Personnel Readiness Task Force enlisted advisor 

“The new Enlisted Career Guides are a game changer for the future of our enlisted workforce,” said Master Chief Petty Office of the Coast Guard, Jason M. Vanderhaden. “This is an amazing opportunity to arm our members with new tools and resources to map out their personal and professional goals as they forge an effective path forward. Whether it be short term or long term goals, having a solid plan will ensure successful career development.”

Career mapping is an effective way to develop the skills needed to enhance mission success and achieve future goals. The new enlisted career guides are designed to provide enlisted members a professional foundation and roadmap that identifies traditional and non-traditional opportunities available at each paygrade. Not only can members learn about opportunities to enrich their Coast Guard careers, but the guides can also help them prepare for life after military service.  

Qualitative data and recommendations from the RAND Study on Improving the Representation of Women and Racial/Ethnic Minorities Among U.S. Coast Guard Active Duty Members emphasized a need for more deliberate development options for service members. RAND Study focus group participants indicated a desire for more career development resources, a perceived lack of transparency, and an imbalanced distribution of professional opportunities. To help address these needs, the Personnel Readiness Task Force (PRTF) spearheaded the Coast Guard’s first large scale development of enlisted career guides. Unlike the officer corps, which has career guides for most officer specialties, there have been no standardized career guides for the enlisted workforce – until now. 

Working together with the rating force master chiefs (RFMCs), subject matter experts, and accomplished performers from across the fleet, the teams developed a holistic blueprint for success for every rating (except for the investigator and musician ratings). Each guide highlights rating-specific certifications, competencies, and professional development opportunities. They also outline expectations and requirements for advancement to help guide and inform members’ career decisions. Each person’s journey is different, so the guides cover everything from vital foundational information for those beginning their careers to more advanced opportunities for senior enlisted members looking to bolster their credentials, apply for the Master Chief Advancement Panel, or submit an application for chief warrant officer. These important resources cover an array of information and have truly been developed by the fleet, for the fleet.

Supervisors can use these career guides as an effective tool to support their members’ pursuit of professional goals. The guides provide a counseling roadmap that outlines what it takes to get from the apprentice to master level within each rating. If uncertain about their career direction, junior enlisted members – including non-rated personnel - can use these guides as an educational tool to help guide their career.

Career guides will be located on the RFMC Portal page and distributed at each A-school prior to graduation. The field will receive the guides in two groupings with the first release scheduled for Feb. 15 and the second release Mar. 15.  

Career guides released Feb. 15: aviation electronics technician, aviation maintenance technician, aviation survival technician, culinary specialist, damage controlman, dive specialist, gunners mate, information systems technician, maritime enforcement specialist, operations specialist, and yeoman. 

Career guides released Mar. 15: boatswain’s mate, electrician’s mate, electronics technician, health services technician, intelligence specialist, machinery technician, marine science technician, public affairs specialist, and store keeper.  

Due to the highly specialized requirements of the investigator and musician ratings, members within those communities should continue to use established channels and follow current guidelines. 

As always, members should continue to communicate their goals with their supervisor and work with their chain of command to develop a plan to achieve those goals. Career guides are a great resource to help members and commands craft or update an Individual Development Plan (IDP).

The career guides are designed to be living documents that are reviewed and updated regularly to ensure the most current guidance is being communicated to the fleet. If you have recommendations that may be relevant to your rating or suggestions for process improvements, please contact the applicable rating force master chief.