EPME 21 prepares Shaw’s NCOs

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- An initiative called the Enlisted Professional Military Education for the 21st Century, otherwise known as “EPME 21,” will make an impact to the future NCOs and senior NCOs of Shaw.

Instead of Airmen being penalized for not completing their EPME courses in a time-frame based on how long they have been in the Air Force, the new model “21” transitions to a rank-based continuum of learning.

“If (senior enlisted) supervisors aren’t aware of the policy change, it could cause their subordinates to miss suspenses and bust deadlines,” said Master Sgt. Jamell Camper, 20th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor. “Not being aware of these changes could be detrimental to their subordinate’s careers.”

The EPME model consists of distance learning and resident courses. Before staff sergeants, technical sergeants and master sergeants can be eligible for resident attendance, they must complete distance learning courses.

Resident EPME courses are a requirement for Airmen promoting to E-5, E-7, and E-9, and include Airman Leadership School, NCO Academy, SNCO Academy and the Chief Leadership Course.

“It's important to attend residence courses because attending will allow members to actually apply what was learned in distance learning courses,” said Camper. “Without the residence course members would never develop the ability to apply the competencies to the appropriate proficiency levels.”

Through the revitalized EPME, Airmen aiming to achieve the next rank should gain the insight needed to properly mentor, teach and lead their subordinates.

As the new system goes into effect, NCOs and SNCOs worldwide can take the steps needed to remain ready to mentor and lead the future of the Air Force.

“Commanders, superintendents, first sergeants and supervisors remain central to inspiring a culture of innovation, agility and excellence, while promoting a continuum of learning that spans an Airman’s career,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright in an article posted on AF.mil, July 18.