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NEWS | April 15, 2015

JSCoP Roadshow in Search of Shipyard Workers

By Dan Smithyman SERMC

MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- The Southeast Regional Maintenance Center (SERMC) hosted a JSCoP Roadshow April 8 and 9 designed to share information on ship maintenance job opportunities in Japan.

Because a continual flow of ship maintenance professionals are needed to maintain the Navy's overseas and deployed naval forces, the JSCoP, or Japan Sustainment Community of Practice, was developed to help attract quality technicians and engineers.

The Department of Defense directs overseas civilian tours to be three years with an option to extend for another two years. Dept. of the Navy civilians who spend three years overseas must return to the United States for one year, and then may return overseas to start the clock again. Civilians who spend five years overseas must return to the U.S. for two years before going back overseas.

"This is a two-way street," said Brad Bell, a Yokosuka project engineering planning manager and one of the JSCoP facilitators. "People will go over there and they will come back. I call it 'talent sharing.'"

The preponderance of the available positions are in paygrade GS 11 or higher. The jobs vary from electronics technicians, IT specialists, engineering techs, business analysts and administrative positions in both Yokosuka and Sasebo at the Ship Repair Facility (SRF) and Japan Regional Maintenance Center. A complete list of positions is available online at

"Good ship repair talent is in high demand at FDNF (Forward Deployed Naval Forces)," said Bell.

According to their literature, JSCoP works tactically to help people recognize the unique career-enhancing value of Japan maintenance experience. Strategically, JSCoP engages stateside naval shipyards and regional maintenance center leadership to build their understanding that the FDNF maintenance environment provides a unique and necessary base of agile, innovative ship maintenance experience across the enterprise.

"Because these jobs are open only to USCS (United States Civil Servants), the competition pool is very small," Bell said. "Qualified applicants have a very good chance of being hired."

These positions can be lucrative too, said Rob Keister, another JSCoP facilitator. Not only are the positions graded relatively high, but they offer a living quarters allowance, post (cost of living) allowance temporary quarters subsistence, and property management services for those who rent their stateside home while they serve in Japan.

"DoD civilians are also eligible to use all the base services such as the hospital, commissary, NEX, and MWR facilities," Keister said. "And the best part is you're on the doorstep to the entire Far East! The cultural opportunities and travel are fantastic."

Civil servants also enjoy return rights. SERMC currently has 15 employees overseas, and they each have return rights. When their respective tours are over, these employees can return to SERMC and either return to their old position or another job for which they are qualified.

Bill Peirson, a program analyst in SERMC's finance department, completed a three year tour in Japan before hiring on at SERMC.

"I sat in on the JSCoP briefs because I am definitely considering going back to Japan," Peirson said. "It would not only potentially be a promotion for me, but I really enjoyed my time there. The money was awesome, the people were awesome and Japan was just great."

Peirson said his experience was as rewarding personally as it was professionally.

"I would recommend this to everybody," he said. "You have the opportunity to be engrained in a wonderful culture, and professionally, you have a chance to branch out and learn other duties and volunteer for things not normally available in the states."

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