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Former interns value Team Tinker’s internship opportunities

Jet Le, a sheetmetal mechanic with the 545th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, pulls out a bolt on the boomerang section of the terminal of a KC-135 Stratotanker. Mr. Le has worked at Tinker for two years after completing the Pathway intern program through Francis Tuttle Technology Center.

Jet Le, a sheetmetal mechanic with the 545th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, pulls out a bolt on the boomerang section of the terminal of a KC-135 Stratotanker. Mr. Le has worked at Tinker for two years after completing the Pathway intern program through Francis Tuttle Technology Center. (Air Force photo by Kelly White)

Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex Workforce Development Program Analyst Rolando Monge went through Tinker’s Internship Program and landed a job at Tinker.

Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex Workforce Development Program Analyst Rolando Monge went through Tinker’s Internship Program and landed a job at Tinker. (Air Force photo by Kevan Goff-Parker)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex Workforce Development Program Analyst Rolando Monge, 37, is a study in the art of endurance. Determined to work at Tinker Air Force Base, he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern Nazarene University. He applied 115 times for different positions before being selected into the Tinker Internship Program last winter.

“I had been applying for positions out here for about four years,” Monge said. “I entered my MBA program in hopes it would help on my road to employment with Tinker AFB. On Jan. 23, 2017, I started with TIP.”

Brandon Bussell, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex workforce development branch chief, said the maintenance complex uses a variety of internships to recruit employees for general schedule and wage grade positions. These include the TIP, Career Technology and PALACE Acquire programs.

“TIP is designed for local college students who want to work at Tinker after graduation,” Bussell said. “These students are hired while still earning their degrees and typically work part-time until they graduate. They rotate through different functional areas, including contracting, program management and analysis, logistics, budget analysis, production management and inventory management.

“Upon graduation they are placed into full-time positions.”

Monge said TIP usually takes at least a year to complete, but he was able to do it in nine months. He was offered a GS-07 position in the OC-ALC’s workforce development section.

“I enjoyed the TIP program,” Monge said. “I got to network and talk to different interns working in different areas and I was able to travel through a lot of different departments and organizations. The TIP internship is a really neat program and it really helped.”

He said he creates reports, charts and performs analysis of OC-ALC’s training data, which leadership uses for decision making. Monge said he also enjoys his team’s outreach efforts, interacting with high school, vocational and college students about the opportunities available on base.

Jet Le, 35, said he was more than ready to pursue a different profession after working for 10 years in his family-owned business, a nail salon. With friends and some family already working at Tinker AFB, he decided to train to become an aircraft sheet metal mechanic by attending Francis Tuttle Technology Center, a member of Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

“I was here for four months as an intern as a WG- 02 sheet metal mechanic and I went to a WG-05,” Le said. “I got hired two years ago, and now I’m a WG-10 journeyman-level mechanic with the 564th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron working on KC-135s. It has been great for me.

“I have a few mentors on the team and I learn bits and pieces from each person. By attending Francis Tuttle, you get to put your foot in the water and the internship program made a huge difference.”

Another internship opportunity at Tinker includes the PALACE Acquire Program. It offers full-time permanent positions in many different occupations following a three-year period with a formal training plan designed for both personal and professional growth. The PALACE Acquire Program offers a permanent position to each intern once they successfully complete the program.

Bussell is a graduate of the PALACE Acquire program. He began his Tinker career as a WG sheet metal mechanic and through the program, transitioned to a GS career in human resources.

“We are proud of our relationships with our internal and external partners to make these internships successful,” Bussell said. “These developmental programs provide the OC-ALC with a pipeline of high caliber employees; and these are meaningful jobs that support the warfighter. That’s important to our workforce, and especially to millennials. It’s a win-win.”

For more information about TIP and PALACE Acquire, call 431st Supply Chain Management Squadron Workforce Development Flight Chief Vinson Yohannan at 405-582-9773.