By Marine Corps Recruiting Command
Marine Corps Recruiting Command reinstated the Educator’s Workshop Program earlier this summer after more than a year of suspended visits due to COVID-19.
The workshops were paused to ensure the safety of the recruits and educators. The return of the program will provide recruiters the opportunity to invite their local educators to attend a workshop to gain valuable insight into the Corps.
The workshops have been a key ally for recruiters for many years as the program aims to demystify the Marine Corps to a diverse group of educators from around the country.
“The workshops play an important role in the recruiting process because they go a long way in helping educate those influencers most directly connected to the student,” said Greg Gilliam, MCRC community engagement director and workshop program manager. “As each year passes, there are more and more people who have not served in the military and these workshops will at a minimum provide insight into the process of becoming a Marine.”
The purpose is to establish an effective recruiting-support program that promotes increased educator and influencer awareness of the Marine Corps’ enlisted and officer entry-level training process while positively affecting mission attainment through improved influencer advocacy and access to key influencers, according to MCRC Order 1156.1, Educator’s Workshop Program.
Annually, 27 workshops are conducted throughout the recruiting command. Marine Corps Recruit Depots Parris Island and San Diego each host 12 workshops primarily focused on high school educators, civic leaders, and local influencers.
MCRC Headquarters conducts three additional workshops aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., focusing on collegiate educators, coaches, band directors, and other key influencers.
“Recruiting Stations are funded annually to execute an educator workshop hosted by their recruiting region or one of three workshops aboard Quantico,” said Gilliam. “Every year we connect with more than 1,500 educators. It’s very rewarding to see educators begin to better understand the Marine Corps, how the transformation takes place and the value it provides to their students.”
“To let the students know or staff members know it is not [always] all about fighting battles, that we are molding young Marines to be better people as we put them back into society,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Ayala, assistant recruiting instructor for Recruiting Station Albany, N.Y.
Educators Workshops provide first-hand knowledge on how the Marine Corps trains, educates and transforms young men and women into Marines. This program emphasizes the Marine Corps’ training practices, military job skills, service opportunities, military lifestyle, and available educational benefits Marines can receive upon completion of recruit training.
“I learned that not only can you have a good career in the military, but if you come to the Marines, your exit is designed to ensure you are successful with the training you receive here,” said Cheryl Brinson, principal of Suwannee River Ridge High School, a Florida private school. She attended a workshop at MCRD Parris Island in early August 2021.
Brinson added how she was surprised at the information available to those serving in the Marines so she decided to put a presentation about her experience during her three-day workshop for students and their parents who are deciding on colleges and career options.
While the schedules vary slightly for each workshop location, the periods of instruction and information are similar. Attendees can expect to arrive early in the morning the first day and experience the taste of recruit life from the initial long, quiet bus ride to aligning their feet on the revered yellow footprints leading to their initial meeting with the drill instructors. What follows is a crash course in receiving, Marine Corps history, weapons live-fire, educational programs, physical fitness, nutrition, job skills, and ultimately graduation from recruit training.
In the end, educators were exposed to all four phases of recruit training, received the opportunity to speak with commanding officers and drill instructors, visit a Marine Corps air station, shoot an M16A4 service rifle, and have lunch with recruits.
“Being able to see these young people and listen to what they are doing. You can help but be impressed,” said Cale Langston, school board member for District three, Wakulla County School Board in Crawfordville, Fla. “If there is one thing we have learned in our time here is you can come in a make a career out of the Marines, but if you choose to serve and leave you can learn a skill, take that to the civilian world and not only compete but excel.”
Those attending workshops at Quantico see similar events, however, these are geared toward the development and molding of a Marine Officer. During those visits, participants will visit Officer Candidates School, The Basic, and the air facility. College educators and coaches see where officers are trained to lead Marines through the nine-month process.
These workshops are intended for coaches, educators, music educators, administrators, and influencers. Recruiters’ should coordinate with their recruiting station executive officer and marketing and communication noncommissioned officer to learn about the specific times and instructions for their command workshops. In turn, recruiters should take information to educators while visiting schools; providing them the opportunity to apply. Once the applicant is accepted they will attend the workshop and return to their areas better equipped to inform students about opportunities to serve as a Marine. Many attendees take the tools learned and apply them to their sports teams and their lesson plans.
“There are moments where I doubt that what I’m doing is right – that what I am doing may be costing us victories on the scoreboard, but the USMC leadership seminar reminded me there are bigger, more important victories than on the scoreboard,” said Jim Dietz, head volleyball coach for Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Ill., and 2018 attendee of the Coaches Workshop in Quantico. “We’ve also done classroom sessions to discuss leadership and accountability… to specifically discuss USMC leadership principles and how they can be applied to our team.”
“As much as we are trying to teach them about the Marine Corps, they are teaching us a lot about what their students are looking for and what we can do better to support the students and future Marines,” said Captain Sara Walker, RS New Jersey executive officer.
Selection criteria for attendees are outlined in MCRC order 1156.1. Scheduled workshops dates and locations will be available on mcrc.marines.usmc.mil/workshops when the dates are available.
Top picture: Cale Langston, District 3 school board member for Wakulla County Schools in Crawfordville, Fla., traverses an obstacle Aug. 4, 2021, during the Educator’s Workshop at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. Marine Corps Recruiting Command conducts educator workshops annually to inform high school educators, coaches, and counselors about the process of becoming a Marine and raise awareness of the opportunities for their students in the Corps. Photo by Lance Cpl. Jennifer Sanchez, USMC.