Supplying a bright future for the service

Written by Lt. j.g. Abby King

Rear Adm. Keith Smith, commander of Force Readiness Command, signs the Memorandum of Agreement alongside Dr. JoAnn W. Haysbert, Chancellor and Provost at Hampton University, Jan. 30, 2018. This MOA means another year of partnership between the Coast Guard and Hampton University through the Coast Guard College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kelli Dougherty.

Rear Adm. Keith Smith, commander of Force Readiness Command, signs the Memorandum of Agreement alongside Dr. JoAnn W. Haysbert, Chancellor and Provost at Hampton University, Jan. 30, 2018. This MOA means another year of partnership between the Coast Guard and Hampton University through the Coast Guard College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative program. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kelli Dougherty.

How can the Coast Guard recruit and maintain a proficient, self-motivated and adaptable workforce in today’s world?

“It is simple: we build a diverse workforce,” explained Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft. “Why? Because diversity adds value. Cultivating a workforce that reflects the demographics of the society we serve enables diversity of thought, which directly contributes to our workforce’s capability for innovation, new approaches and fresh perspectives.”

As a way to build this diverse and demographically relevant workforce, Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM), in coordination with Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, established a partnership with Hampton University (HU) in Hampton, Virginia, in December 2015. Hampton University is one of several historically black colleges and universities in the U.S., and is home to the Coast Guard’s College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI) Scholarship Program.

Students who are accepted into the CSPI program are enlisted in the Coast Guard and receive full funding for two years of college. Their funding includes payment of tuition, textbooks, and other school fees, along with receiving a full-time Coast Guard salary, housing allowance and medical benefits. Hampton University offers degrees that are relevant to the Coast Guard missions and help identify student and faculty research and development opportunities in areas of interest to the Coast Guard.

Rear Adm. Keith Smith, commander of Force Readiness Command, meets with Officer Trainees Jonathan Rogers (senior) and Camarie Clark (junior) before the brief and signing of the Memorandum of Agreement at Hampton University, Jan. 30, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Abby King.

Rear Adm. Keith Smith, commander of Force Readiness Command, meets with Officer Trainees Jonathan Rogers (senior) and Camarie Clark (junior) before the brief and signing of the Memorandum of Agreement at Hampton University, Jan. 30, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Abby King.

On Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, Rear Adm. Keith Smith, FORCECOM commander, sat down with Dr. JoAnn W. Haysbert, Chancellor and Provost of Hampton University, to sign the Memorandum of Agreement between the U.S. Coast Guard and the university. The signing of this document symbolizes another two years of a fruitful educational partnership between the university and the Coast Guard. The signing of the memorandum also coincided with the university’s 150th anniversary since the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute was founded in 1868.

Hampton University is one of the few universities that still has a curfew in place for the students to keep them out of trouble and focused on the future they are building for themselves. In addition to having a curfew, students at HU cannot have a car on campus until their junior year. This rule is in place to maximize the students’ opportunities to remain on campus where they can foster stronger bonds with their fellow classmates. These rules, as well as others put in place by the university, help to graduate talented men and women who share the core values of the Coast Guard: Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty.

Since the late 80s and early 90s, when the Coast Guard first came to Hampton University, there have been 30 students/graduates who have served, are currently serving, or will be serving in the Coast Guard following graduation from the university and the CSPI program.

Officer Trainee Jonathan Rogers, a senior at HU pursuing a degree in Marine Environmental Science, asked Smith how his transition from an enlisted Coast Guardsman to an officer made him a more effective leader.

Officer Trainees Camarie Clark (junior), Jonathan Rogers (senior) and LaMaya Samuel (junior), pose together after briefing Adm. Keith Smith on the history and importance of Hampton University. These three trainees will go on to graduate and serve full-time in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Officer Trainees Camarie Clark (junior), Jonathan Rogers (senior) and LaMaya Samuel (junior), pose together after briefing Adm. Keith Smith on the history and importance of Hampton University. These three trainees will go on to graduate and serve full-time in the U.S. Coast Guard.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Kelli Dougherty .

“I think it really just made me a more effective person,” replied Smith. “Value what you are learning as an enlisted member now, because it will make you a better officer in the future.”

FORCECOM, through Training Center Yorktown, has recruited new CSPI students by fostering Coast Guard recruiter presence on campus to spread the word about the program and the opportunities of a career in the Coast Guard. This program grows and develops more each year, and FORCECOM is happy to be partnered with Hampton University in this effort to better the Coast Guard through a quality workforce.

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