By Cameron Porter, 405th AFSB Public Affairs Officer
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – Fresh perspectives and new approaches – that’s what the 405th Army Field Support Brigade believes its Base Support Operations Maintenance apprenticeship program brings to the communities it supports – and two apprentices in the program couldn’t agree more.
Sabrina Meidenbauer and Nicole Fussi are assigned to BASOPS Maintenance and are currently in the unit’s apprenticeship program. Meidenbauer started in September 2020, and Fussi started in April 2019.
During the three-year program, apprentices will work in every section of BASOPS Maintenance for a few months each to experience all the work requirements of the organization, said Fussi, who currently serves as an office management apprentice at BASOPS Maintenance.
“I started in the administration section here at BASOPS Maintenance where I learned how to process leave requests, complete reports, submit temporary duty travel requests and more,” said Meidenbauer, who currently serves as a contracting technician at BASOPS Maintenance.
“And we both worked in production control,” said Meidenbauer, who is from Speinshart, Germany.
“In production control, we learned how to process incoming work orders and reimbursable expenses, said Fussi, who is from Oberbibrach, Germany. “We also oversaw the service schedules, and we contacted customers to let them know when their next services are due on their vehicles.”
In Germany, it’s very common, said Stephanie Kramer, the director of BASOPS Maintenance. German apprenticeships are a common way of starting many careers.
The 405th AFSB BASOPS Maintenance apprenticeship program has proven quite successful and beneficial to Army communities across Europe over the years. Theater Logistics Support Center-Europe Director Helmut Haufe helped jump start the program in 1998, and the 405th AFSB’s BASOPS Maintenance is not the only Army organization in Europe to incorporate an apprenticeship program. Many other units have joined this successful initiative over the past 23 years – units such as TLSC-E, Maintenance Activity Kaiserslautern, Maintenance Activity Vilseck and U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, for example.
After they complete the three-year apprenticeship program, Meidenbauer and Fussi are committed to working for BASOPS Maintenance for an additional two years. At that point, they may apply for job positions at other Army organizations or if a permanent job position opens up at BASOPS Maintenance, they could stay there.
Fussi said she thinks staying at BASOPS Maintenance once her apprenticeship is complete makes a lot of sense.
“I think it’s good because we are familiar with all the departments (in BASOPS Maintenance) after rotating through all the areas,” Fussi said. “I believe we will be qualified to work in any of these areas and departments thanks to the training we received and experience we gained over the last three years.”
And Fussi and Meidenbauer also believe the benefits of the program are equally reciprocal for all. Fussi and Meidenbauer gain valuable experience and respectable employment, and BASOPS Maintenance reaps the benefits associated with new employees who bring fresh perspectives, new ideas, new approaches and new ways of doing business.
“I’m very thankful for getting accepted into the program and having such nice coworkers who assist me when I need help,” said Fussi. “It also affords me an opportunity to use a second language, which I really like, too.”
Meidenbauer said working with different people, getting to know them and becoming friends is really important to her.
“I really enjoy that,” Meidenbauer said. “Everyone is so helpful. And it’s interesting to learn how BASOPS Maintenance works and how the U.S. Army works.”
The 405th AFSB BASOPS Maintenance apprenticeship program has proven to be a successful, alternative way to attract new employees. Applicants don’t necessarily need a specific education level or level of expertise to qualify for the program. The program allows apprentices to learn as they go, gaining critical on-the job experience. Currently the BASOPS Maintenance apprenticeship program is only available in the USAG Bavaria area of responsibility. To find out more about the program, call DSN 314-526-3801 or commercial +49-9641-70-526-3801.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the U.S. Army Materiel Command materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.