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Airman bridges the gap with Career Skills Program

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Aaron Irvin
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force Career Skills Program assists in bridging the gap while transitioning from military to civilian employment.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lauren Phipps, 19th Wing Staff Agency unit deployment manager, will soon begin an internship at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library assisting in creating a library system for former president Bill Clinton’s personal library books.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to work at a presidential library and organize a former president’s personal library,” Phipps said. “That’s a huge opportunity, how many people get to say that?”

After serving in the Air Force for three and a half years, Phipps decided to enroll in the CSP program to chase after her dreams. The program prepares Airmen through vocational and technical training for a specific career or trade during the final 180 days before separation or retirement. There are three options to choose from, depending on how a service member wants to benefit: apprenticeship, internship and on-the-job training.

“This program is an opportunity to give back to the Airmen,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Nicholas Ortiz, 19th Wing Staff Agency first sergeant. “We have invested so much into you, so providing an opportunity to transition into the civilian world is well deserved.”

Phipps said she enjoyed her time in the Air Force and she would choose the same path again given the option.

“I am thankful for the opportunities the Air Force provided me,” Phipps said. “It has given me the push forward to chase my dreams and aspirations for what I want to do. They provided me food, clothing, a roof over my head, I met my husband and furthered my education; they definitely took care of me and I am very thankful for that.”

Phipps joined the Air Force with a bachelor’s in English literature and a minor in leadership. Throughout her career, she was able to gain an associate’s degree in financial management from the Community College of the Air Force.

“I’m extremely excited for Senior Airman Phipps moving into this program,” Ortiz said. “She has been a rock star her entire time here. She’s been killing it in the UDM section. I know she will rock this internship.”

Before Phipps became a UDM, she was a financial budget analyst and unit fitness program manager.

“After completing the CSP, I plan to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill and attend school full-time to earn my master’s degree in library science,” Phipps said. “I’m able to do that because after four years in the military, the Air Force is still taking care of me.”

Phipps said it has always been her dream to become a librarian and would eventually like to work in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

“I have always liked libraries as a kid, it just didn’t seem like a feasible dream,” Phipps said. “So when an opportunity like this opened up, it made me realize I could actually achieve my dreams if I pushed myself.”

As the digital world takes over, librarians have turned more into reference guides with access to many databases where they can find you what they need.

“It’s more than just the books - it’s about the research and the access to knowledge,” Phipps said. “Librarians made an impact in my life and they turned into counselors for me offering guidance. I want to be like that for others. I want to be a safe place people want to go to and create an environment around me that people can learn from. What better place to do that than a library?”

For more information regarding the career skills program contact the education center at (501) 987-3417.