An active duty course manager and lead instructor at the Center for Information Dominance (CID) Unit Corry Station, Fla. recently obtained two certifications through the Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) program.
Cryptologic Technician Networking 1st Class Jessica Gaukel manages and teaches the Joint Cyber Analysis Course (JCAC) course at CID and continues to take advantage of the Navy COOL program which has provided opportunities for Sailors who want to achieve excellence since 2006.
Gaukel has recently obtained two certifications - Comp TIA Network-Plus and Security-Plus - through the Navy COOL program. Gaukel said she also is studying to obtain her CISCO Computer Network Administration (CCNA) certification.
Navy COOL is a centralized, Web-based hub that consolidates information from numerous sources at the federal, state and local levels on certifications, licenses, apprenticeships and growth opportunities that correspond with each Navy rating, job and occupation.
Armed with that information, Navy COOL has provided funding for Navy enlisted personnel to obtain civilian licenses and certifications that are closely aligned with a Sailor's job or rating.
"By holding a certification, you're meeting an industry-recognized standard of competency so that said, you're able to show your current organization whether it be military or any company that you've met an industry-wide standard, but you're also able to show your peers that you've met that," Navy COOL Program Manager Keith Boring said. "If a certification is not required for your rating, it's still highly recommended if you want to stay current in your field."
Gaukel said the certifications she has obtained verify that she is capable of both operating and securing computer networks at the same level as her civilian counterparts.
She stressed that obtaining the civilian certifications are an important step not only for her personal development as a Sailor, but for any Sailor who wants to excel in the Navy.
"For active duty Sailors, obtaining a certification can be their next step, something that will help them get promoted," Gaukel said. "A certification is something the board can see that will set that Sailor from their peers."
Chief Cryptologic Technician Networking (IDW) Tammy Sternberg JCAC senior enlisted leader said Gaukel has a reputation as being an outstanding technician, thanks in part to her pursuit of certifications through Navy COOL.
"Petty Officer Gaukel is our JCAC lead instructor and course manager, a position normally held by a chief petty officer," Sternberg said. "Her technical skills and knowledge have been enhanced by her pursuit of Navy COOL certifications.
To date, Navy COOL has processed nearly 66,000 credentials for Sailors and received more than 118 million hits to the Navy COOL Web site at https://www.cool.navy.mil.
Navy COOL Program Supervisor Sam Kelley said his team cross-linked every Navy specialty or rating with Department of Labor equivalent and ensured the Navy offered at least one civilian certification to each job within the Navy.
Boring said the thoroughness of the Navy's training is showing up in the high rate being achieved by Sailors in successfully passing the certification and licensing examinations. On average, Sailors are passing at a rate of 96 to 98 percent for voluntary licenses and certifications, compared to the national average pass rate of 75 to 80 percent.
Gaukel explained that Navy COOL is, for many new Sailors, their first opportunity to take advantage of advanced training because new ascensions, don't qualify for tuition assistance to attend college until they've completed one year of active service.
"What I try to tell all of our students, is that after they complete "A" school, they should go through Navy COOL, obtain a voucher to take these certifications," Gaukel said. "They should take a couple of days for review, but they should be able to pass their exams, and the best thing is that Navy COOL pays for all of it."
The end result of the pursuit of a civilian certification is that the Sailor's individual professional knowledge and skill-set usually increases due to the extra preparation time required for certification examinations and ongoing maintenance of that certification.
"By using these certifications, and learning and reviewing the newest books that come out, we're staying current," Gaukel said. "So they're continually feeding themselves to become a better operator, a better analyst, and a better Sailor."
CID is the Navy's Learning Center that leads, manages and delivers Navy and joint force training in information operations, information technology, cryptology and intelligence.
With a staff of nearly 1,300 military, civilian and contracted staff members, CID oversees the development and administration of more than 168 courses at four commands, two detachments and 14 learning sites throughout the United States and in Japan. CID provides training for approximately 24,000 members of the U.S. Armed Services and allied forces each year.
Navy COOL is one of many opportunities for personal and professional growth available to Sailors to earn certificates, licenses and degrees making them invaluable assets to the Navy. Those programs are important parts of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative which consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.