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The Air Force typically trains 30,000 to 40,000 new airmen in some 300 specialties each year. It utilizes two methods for training its enlistees: centralized initial skills training (IST, or “schoolhouse” training) and decentralized on-the-job training (OJT). All too often, only IST costs are considered when “pricing” training, seriously underestimating the overall cost to train an airman. When all the costs are considered, including those of OJT, decisions related to the length of IST can be better informed. To determine the most cost-effective combination of IST and OJT, the authors developed a methodology based on a cost-benefit analysis of seven Air Force specialties. From a statistical analysis of data taken from surveys of senior enlisted personnel, they were able to assess how productivity changes when IST course length changes and to make recommendations concerning the IST course lengths that would produce the most productive airmen for the least possible cost.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Review of the Literature

  • Chapter Three

    A Survey to Determine Productivity and Effectiveness

  • Chapter Four

    Calculating Total Cost

  • Chapter Five

    Cost-Effective Course Lengths

  • Chapter Six

    Recommendations and Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    Air Force Specialty Code Descriptions

  • Appendix B

    Survey Instrument

  • Appendix C

    Defining “Fully Mission-Effective” or “Mission-Ready” Airmen

  • Appendix D

    Data Cleaning

  • Appendix E

    Statistical Results

  • Appendix F

    Productivity Curves

  • Appendix G

    Comments on Adding/Deleting Content from IST

  • Appendix H

    Cost-Productivity Results for Seven AFSCs

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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