Professional Development Center: Giving Airmen power through knowledge

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Montse Belleau
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world," --Nelson Mandela.

The Whiteman Professional Development Center's mission is to provide Airmen with the tools they need to obtain that weapon.

There are 24 personnel available to help Airmen throughout the PDC - in the Airman Leadership School, First Term Airman Center, base library and the Education Center.

"We enable global strike capability by providing unrivaled force development to Whiteman's defenders and avengers," said Darla Rush, 509th Force Support Squadron force development flight chief.

As an Air Force institution, Rush said their daily challenge is to provide the necessary support to Airmen so they can accomplish their global reach mission without having to worry about the administrative side of registering for classes and military tuition assistance.

"The staff is always very professional, respectful and always do the best to help me out," said Staff Sgt. Rafael Franjul, 509th Bomb Wing Judge Advocate NCOIC of civic law. "They are responsive and attentive to the needs of Airmen."

"The most effective method of data-gathering in my organization is customer critiques," Rush said. "We continually ask our Airmen and their families what we can do to help them to better achieve the Air Force mission. The information gathered changes based on what's going on in their lives, and we just have to do the best to address them all so that our Airmen can continue to successfully accomplish the mission."

During the last year, the PDC hosted an on-base graduation combining Community College of the Air Force, State Fair Community College, Park University and Webster University graduates. In total, 174 Whiteman Airmen earned CCAF degrees.

"We also hosted a national education fair with 25 accredited colleges, [with] 150 programs showcased to more than 200 Airmen," Rush said.

The can-do attitude of the education center employees is second to none according to Rush.

"When an Airman comes in looking for guidance on educational programs, we are there to assist," Rush said. "The thing that stands out to me is that we have many Airmen who leave Whiteman who still call back with education questions. I don't think they would be doing that if they hadn't had a positive experience while stationed here."