NORCO, Calif. –
At Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Corona its people are just as important as the mission.
That’s the message the command staff imparted on a group of visitors touring the command on June 28. Corona recently launched two programs to educate and empower its workforce, advancing its strategic initiative and embracing diversity to develop the workforce and accelerating the command into the Navy’s future.
“Our mission is highly important and exciting,” said Darla Sutton, Training Officer at NSWC Corona. “But the fact that we put our people on par with data analytics really says what our leadership values most.”
The group included Mrs. Patricia Peters, wife of Vice Adm. Dean Peters; Mrs. Kim Braunbeck, wife of NSWC Corona Commander Capt. Richard Braunbeck; and DJ Stanhope, Inland Empire Area Manager of the Bob Hope USO. They were taken on a historical tour of the base while Vice Adm. Peters, commander of Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), toured the Joint Warfare Assessment Lab and received a firsthand look into the NWSC Corona’s leading role in independent assessment, data analytics, measurement science and fleet Live Virtual Constructive training.
Sutton presented an overview of Corona University, a new learning framework launched in late 2018 for Corona’s employees to foster training across the command. Corona’s leadership has focused on institutionalizing knowledge transfer – from seasoned experts to up-and-coming employees.
The university provides a mechanism to help ensure the next generation of the warfare center’s workforce is well equipped, offering everything from core competencies, leadership, "soft skills" and technical courses to help employees develop a solid foundation and understanding of the depth and breadth of Corona’s mission. Key to its success is the ability of employees to take courses within any of its six pillars of curriculum, which align with Corona’s technical and business units.
“Nobody ever walks into their first job and says, ‘This is it.’ We’re not looking to grow our people in just one position,” Sutton said. “We’re building them and want to keep them for the Navy.”
Upon hiring, new employees receive a planning guide that details their current position as well as the next one, providing a roadmap of steps to take and skills to develop.
Embracing diversity is also key to fulfilling that strategic initiative, said Alice Luh, Division Manager of Interface Engineering and Assessment Division at NSWC Corona.
“Our goal is to embrace diversity,” Luh said, “but how do we do that and capture the broadest spectrum of people to solve problems and get the most effective solutions?”
Luh was selected to helm the Leadership in a Diverse Environment training for all warfare centers. She then brought that knowledge to Corona where she and 12 others led workshops to bring the workforce together.
“We want our workforce to be engaged,” Luh said. “We want them to work together to be the most effective team for the Navy. One way we did that is through an event for new professionals where we learned a lot about our new workforce. We wanted to capture their perspectives in a non-threatening environment and ask them about their challenges and goals because diversity is not just about gender or race, it’s about generations.”
Additional mentoring and training opportunities are in development, Luh said, and Corona University will enter its second phase of course development starting with the 2019-20 fiscal year.
“I’m honored to be here,” said Patricia Peters. “It’s great to see how well-run everything is, and it speaks to the precision of everything that’s happening here. We saw how beautiful Corona is and historic, how its purpose started and how the warfare center developed. After hearing about the history and what you do today, it’s clear how all the good decisions Corona makes are leading to great things for the Navy.”