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The new Automated Career Retention System gives Marines more control of their careers.

Photo by Cpl. Brian A. Tuthill

New online career planning system gives Marines edge

26 May 2006 | Cpl. Brian A. Tuthill

A new career planning management tool has become available to Marines online which puts more power at their fingertips.

The Automated Career Retention System, activated earlier this month, is a new system which works through Marine Online accounts to provide feedback to unit career retention specialists and research options before ever stepping into their office.

However, because the system is new, ACRS is still being implemented by units around the Marine Corps but its effects have already been positive, said Staff Sgt. Alora B. Carter, CRS for Headquarters Battalion.

“ACRS is not only for the CRS but also for the individual Marine,” she said. “It’s helping to streamline the process as Marines come closer to the end of their contracts for interviews.”

Carter said she has already begun using the system for setting up and filing interviews with Marines who are nearing their end of active service, or EAS, who must complete three to five interviews before making their final say on whether to reenlist or leave the Marine Corps.

Through ACRS, which is under MOL’s “Resources” tab, Marines can easily see the progress of their interviews with their respective CRS and have multiple options such as preparing for their next interview with research of possible career options, select their personal career needs, reviewing interview history or be notified of upcoming or past interviews.

“This lets the CRS know what the Marine wants out of the interview before even coming in,” said Carter. “In the preparing for the interview section, it actually has a step-by-step checklist for Marines to go through so they know what they need to do before coming to see me. That will allow us to have more knowledge on both ends.”

Future updates to ACRS will allow users to select their preferences for duty stations through the same program occupational field monitors currently use.

Another upside for using ACRS is digital storage of interview notes and reminders which go directly to the individual Marine via MOL notifications on their login screen, said Carter.

“There is no way to misplace this information now,” she said. “Before we would do an interview with a Marine and he may lose all those forms and notes and, we’ll have to conduct all of the interviews over again. So it can be frustrating if someone has to come in for 10 interviews instead of five.”

One aspect Marines who have used ACRS say they enjoy is its simplicity and ability to send and review electronic messages to their CRS without having a government email account.

“It’s well laid out and very easy to understand,” said Lance Cpl. Joseph Bellavia, an electro-optical ordnance repairer, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Tank Battalion, who used ACRS to prepare for his interview with his career planner. “It’s very user-friendly for anybody.”

Bellavia, whose EAS is in December, said he feels the new system will save time and increase productivity for Marines who use it.

“It will save time, and time is money,” said the 27-year-old San Diego native. “It feels safe when you use it. I trust it because it’s through MOL.”

Commanders, who are a part of the interview process for Marines ready to EAS, also have access to ACRS to conduct and schedule interviews, Carter said.

“I think it’s going to help in the long run once we get the knowledge out on the street,” Carter said. “One thing we need to do is get the word out about this to the Marines. ACRS won’t do you any good unless you use it.”