July 29, 2013 –This spring, sequestration, or automatic spending cuts, is hitting the budgets of U.S. military bases hard. Facilities like Robins Air Force Base are now carefully scrutinizing their budgets to find ways to cut spending. To reduce operating expenses, Robins Air Force Base recently started the Air Force Community Partnership Initiative to create cost-saving initiatives through partnerships with public and private organizations.
Last month, Fort Valley State University became one of the 60 community groups to join the new AFCP Initiative. At Flint Energies’ Russell Parkway location, FVSU’s interim chief legal officer and Public Service Center director, Charles Jones, signed the “Memorandum of Agreement for Work Studies” Program on behalf of FVSU officials. Thanks to the brand-new partnership, Robins will now hire qualified FVSU students for unpaid internships, in exchange for the valuable work experience and field experience college credit.
“It represents an incredible opportunity for the university to further solidify its partnerships with organizations, like Robins, within our community,” says Jones.
“We’re very happy to have the opportunity for our students to be placed on the base and to be of assistance to the facility, and also for the Robins to see how much we have to offer here on campus,” says Dr. Anna Holloway, dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Extended Education, who helped create the agreement with Robins. “And we understand that with sequestration the base has a need for community partnerships, so we’d like to help.”
Work-study agreements were not the only type of partnerships finalized with the base on June 24. Other groups signed MOAs that allowed military members to use firing ranges, receive medical training at local hospitals, and work with local law enforcement.
According to Holloway, Robins’ 21st Century Partnership organization facilitated the new agreements. A series of three meetings was held to discuss the new partnerships, beginning in the fall of 2012. A coalition of FVSU representatives— Dr. Leonard Kistner,FVSU’s military outreach coordinator and assistant professor of marketing; Dr. Victor M.D. Brown, College of Arts and Sciences dean; and Holloway—attended the meetings.
“The 21st Century Partnership was looking for community representatives in the areas of living/learning/working and playing,” says Holloway. “They were looking for voluntary agreements where the community could support the base, and the base could support the community. So, we brought the agreement back to campus and discussed it with the administration.”
Kistner says the university hopes to extend its partnership with the base beyond the work-study coalition, by providing online and academic offerings.
“We recognized that the university and the base have mutual interests in the area of education,” Kistner says. “We hope to partner with them in offering online classes and community partnerships with the base.”
Holloway expects that students will earn two to six hours of credit depending on the academic department. Kistner says that although the program is still in its infancy, they will begin interviewing students for the new internship positions in August 2013. FVSUWildcats will be on the job by 2014.
“I expect that they’ll have to work closely with students,” says Holloway. “Students will have some computer access, but not full access because they don’t have clearance.”
For more information about internship positions, contact Holloway at (478) 825-6338.
Christina D. Milton,writer
Fort Valley State University
Office of Marketing and Communications
(478) 822-7589, email@example.com