Army Education News

U.S. Army Brings Together Education Leaders for the Strengthening America’s Youth Committee Leadership Meeting

Aug 10, 2016


On July 26, 2016, the U.S. Army gathered the Strengthening America’s Youth (SAY) Leadership Committee at the Pentagon Library & Conference Center in Washington, D.C. for a meeting that focused on helping students develop career- and life-readiness skills in the digital era. 

SAY members convene at the Pentagon Library & Conference Center on July 26, 2016.

The U.S. Army Marketing and Research Group (AMRG), led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Marketing, Mark S. Davis, brought nearly 25 national community and education leaders from around the country together with senior Army leaders for a day of engaging discussions and presentations. Participants explored what it means to learn, grow, pursue a career and keep our Nation safe in the digital age—with input from the perspective of students and educators as well as Soldiers.

Seated from left: Major Jillian Peralta, Captain Stephen Cattalo, Sergeant First Class Steven Payne, Staff Sergeant Christopher Moorhead and Corporal Megan Perry discuss how technology has helped advance their careers in the Army. 

The meeting kicked off with a welcome from Mr. Davis noting the importance of the committee’s collaborative work to prepare students for future success, regardless of their post-secondary path. After the opening remarks, Major Jillian Peralta, Captain Stephen Cattalo, Sergeant First Class Steven Payne, Staff Sergeant Christopher Moorhead and Corporal Megan Perry participated in a panel discussion about the education and career opportunities they have received in the Army. Each Soldier shared their personal story and talked about how incorporating new technologies as part of their Army training has taken their careers to the next level. While their individual stories and career pathways differed, a common theme emerged from their answers: to them, being in the Army means being part of a diverse team of leaders – a distinct matter of pride for this group of young Soldiers. 

For a more seasoned perspective, senior Army leaders also addressed SAY members about how their own careers as leaders in the Army have had to adapt to constantly-evolving technology. Major General Jeffrey Snow, Commanding General, U.S. Army Recruiting Command; Major General Michael Smith, Deputy Chief of the Army Reserve; and Colonel M. Blaine Hedges, 7th Brigade Commander, U.S. Army Cadet Command, discussed how critical it is for the Army to stay on the cutting edge and remain connected globally. New technologies come with challenges, but the group of leaders all agreed that through digital and technological advances, the Army has been able to strengthen relationships and develop and motivate young Soldiers who are beginning their Army careers. 

From left: Major General Jeffrey Snow, Commanding General, U.S. Army Recruiting Command; Major General Michael Smith, Deputy Chief of the Army Reserve; and Colonel M. Blaine Hedges, 7th Brigade Commander, U.S. Army Cadet Command, talk to SAY Committee members about leading Soldiers in the digital age.

SAY Committee members also heard insights from keynote speaker Lieutenant General James McConville, U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, who spoke on the importance of collaboration between the Army and education organizations to ensure young people know their post-secondary options and are well-equipped for future success, emphasizing the importance of increasing public awareness of the meaningful work Soldiers do for communities.

Lieutenant General James McConville, U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff, delivers keynote remarks during the SAY Committee meeting. 

While the morning presentations provided valuable insights into the Army’s priorities and opportunities, momentum grew when the attendees broke into small groups to enable more intimate and focused discussions. Along with Major General Snow, Major General Smith and Colonel Hedges, SAY members discussed how the Army could more effectively collaborate with education organizations around preparing today’s young people with the education, skills training, career options and leadership opportunities necessary for post-secondary success, both in and out of uniform. Because the Army and the education community share a significant responsibility in support of these goals, it is natural for them to work together. SAY members left the meeting with more knowledge about Army resources such as the Army’s free test prep tool, the myriad of scholarship opportunities available through ROTC, and career pathway options in the Army Reserve. 

Major General Jeffrey Snow talks in a small-group setting about scholarship and career readiness opportunities the Army provides to young Soldiers. 

To acknowledge the significance of holding the meeting at the Pentagon, SAY members were taken on a guided tour to better understand the mission of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Army’s military history. Many of the attendees had never been to the Pentagon, so touring the building was a special highlight of the day. 

Hank Minitrez, a Pentagon staffer, leads SAY Committee meeting attendees on a tour of the Pentagon.

Army education outreach initiatives like the SAY Committee are invaluable for the Army to maintain relations with civilian organizations to solve many of the challenges facing our Nation’s youth around career- and life-readiness. The Army is committed to supporting education, leadership and career-building opportunities for all students, and highly values its longstanding relationships with education organizations.





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