by Master Sgt. Gary Johnson
Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service Public Affairs
3/13/2006 - ROBINS AIR FORCE, Ga. -- The first non-prior service recruit to enroll in Air Force Reserve Command’s Licensed Practical Nurse Education Assistance Program will graduate March 24.
Senior Airman Elizabeth Quartullo will receive her diploma of practical nursing from the ATS Institute of Technology, Highland Heights, Ohio.
LEAP is a new AFRC initiative that allows individuals entering the 4N0X1 career field the opportunity to attend an approved civilian licensed practical nurse school instead of attending 4N031 technical school. The command pays for tuition, books and other course fees. LEAP students must maintain satisfactory unit participation while attending a one-year school.
Airman Quartullo joined the Air Force Reserve Oct. 22, 2004. After three job layoffs in two years, she decided something needed to change.
“I really needed to find a more stable career path,” Airman Quartullo said. “I had wanted to be part of the Air Force since I began college the first time but never quite knew how much of a commitment I could make to it.”
Airman Quartullo said she’s always been interested in a career in healthcare but didn’t have the money to go back school because she was still paying off student loans. She completed a master of business administration program at Pepperdine University, Los Angeles, in 2002.
She decided to investigate job opportunities in the Air Force Reserve.
“I was 34 at the time and knew it was now or never,” Airman Quartullo said. “I looked at the medical field opportunities and found the 4N0X1 Air Force skill classification, medical technician.
“It was a perfect way to receive training to transition into a nursing career,” she continued. “I also found out that not only would I be eligible for GI Bill benefits to further my education, but there was a ‘kicker’ for nursing school, providing additional money for school.”
Airman Quartullo credits Tech. Sgt John Wood, her recruiter in Euclid, Ohio, with helping her achieve her goals.
“He was friendly, supportive, informative and so completely went the extra mile to help me through the LEAP application process,” she said. “Sergeant Wood is as compassionate as he is capable, a really great person to have worked with.”
Airman Quartullo said she can see how people her age could view the process as both a terrifying yet an enlightening experience.
“Those who are older and going through basic military training should consider it an all expenses paid extreme makeover diet plan, with a personal trainer, and a paycheck to top it off,” she said with a grin. “The younger crowd should consider it a once in a lifetime chance to develop a sense of pride they didn’t think they could have.”
LEAP provides new accessions and cross trainees an alternative civilian training option. At the same time, it allows Air Force Reserve Command to improve its readiness capabilities while lower training costs.
Each AFRC wing has established quotas for the program, and recruiters have more details about how to apply for it. (AFRC News Service)