MCAGCC, Twentynine Palms, Calif. -- Have questions about relocation assistance or education benefits? Need financial advice or relationship counseling? On Marine Corps bases around the world, Marines and their spouses simply have to walk into the Community Support Center to have access to a seemingly endless list of support services. In some cases, when these services are ordered by the Marine's command, progress might be tracked and reported to assure the desired results are accomplished.
However, Marines who don't live near a Marine Corps base - or those on base but assigned to units with high operational tempos - may have greater difficulty gaining access to these services in the traditional manner. To address this problem and increase accessibility, Marine Corps Community Services has developed the MCCS One Source program.
The new program is designed to provide assistance to eligible patrons 24 hours a day, seven days a week through telephonic and online services. Eligible patrons include Active Duty or Selected Marine Corps Reserve Marines, Sailors attached to Marine units, and the family members who impact those service members' mission focus.
The two-year pilot program is funded through the Office of the Secretary
of Defense using funds provided for Operation Enduring Freedom. MCAGCC is one of a handful of installations participating in the initial offering of this service, which will be offered Marine Corps-wide in February of 2003.
MCCS One Source provides Marines and their family members with secure and confidential counseling on a variety of subjects. Relationships, education, health and wellness, parenting, childcare, elder care, legal advice and financial matters can all be addressed by making a toll-free phone call. Patrons calling from within the continental United States may call 1-800-433-6868. TTY/TDD callers may use 1-800-346-9188, and Spanish-speaking customers may call 1-888-346-9188. Services are available to be translated into more than 140 languages, assuring that every caller will be assisted.
All callers are informed of the confidentiality limitations of the program, which explains that MCCS One Source is obligated to report certain information to Marine Corps and civilian agencies. Reportable information includes issues concerning the caller's safety, safety of others, any illegal practices and all instances of family abuse.
Every hit, whether it is a phone call or an online inquiry, is followed up in one week. Follow-up is done via e-mail or telephone, and if the customer is not satisfied, the situation will be reassessed and another solution offered.
Users with Internet access may log onto http://www.mccsonesource.com. Online users are offered resource rooms, self-assessment, financial calculators, limited chat services and the ability to email a counselor. Most emails are answered within 24 hours, according to a Ceridian representative.
On Dec. 13, while the program was being introduced to Brig. Gen. Christian B. Cowdrey, Commanding General of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, and the senior officers and staff non commissioned officers of the base, one question dominated the discussion.
"How do I know what is going on with my Marines if they are taking their problems to a 1-800 number or an Internet service?" asked Sgt. Maj. Steven Clarke, Combat Center Sergeant Major. As other leaders in the room echoed his concern, Bruce Barnes, Personal Services Division Head, agreed that One Source can't replace - and isn't intended to take the place of concerned personal leadership.
"This is not taking your leadership opportunities away," said Barnes. "Think of it as a deep hip-pocket of resources to draw from; our job is to help the Marines and their families. All we are doing is providing help on another level."
Mary Craig, Information, Referral and Volunteerism Program Specialist, who came to the Combat Center to represent MCCS as part of the MCCS One Source presentation emphasized that the program was still in the pilot phase.
"We have two years to find out what might need to be added to this program," Craig said. "We will get reports monthly, starting in January to see how the Marines and their families are using MCCS One Source."
Craig stressed that it is going to be up to the commanders to get the word out about the program. Eventually, the program will be marketed through avenues such as the MCCS Single Marines Program and the Lifestyles, Insights, Networking, Knowledge and Skills program, and the toll-free numbers will appear on Leave and Earnings statements and orders as well. Each month will have a different feature topic, such as summer planning, relocation, single Marines, safety and overload.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and Marine Corps Air Stations Yuma and Iwakuni, are also taking part in the pilot program. In January 2003, Marine Corps Reserves New Orleans, Pensacola, Fla., Marine Corps Barracks Henderson Hall, Washington, D.C., Quantico, Va., Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., MCAS Miramar. Calif., and Okinawa will be added to the program. February 2003 will see MCBs Hawaii and Camp Lejeune, MCASs New River, N.C., and Cherry Point, S.C. and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., added into the program. The end goal is for every Marine or family member to be able to access the services from anywhere in the world.
Ceridian Corporation, the vendor contracted to provide One Source to the Corps, has been meeting the needs of a variety of civilian clients for nearly 30 years. Ceridian's clientele includes UPS, FedEx, Marriott, AT&T, Johnson and Johnson, Kraft, Lockheed Martin and IBM, to name a few. In July 1999, they started contracting with the U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service and a year later added the Army and Navy's Recruiting Commands to their list of military clients.
Those with questions concerning MCCS One Source are encouraged to call 760-830-6344.