Logistics Center in Japan offers English Language Training to Japanese civilian employees

Logistics Center in Japan offers English Language Training to Japanese civilian employees

by Brandon Taylor
NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka

Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka is hosting online English language courses in an effort to advance and improve the language skills of its Japanese civilian employees.

The courses are expected to help the 18 attendees communicate with their English-speaking colleagues, supervisors and team members, ultimately enhancing the command’s mission to provide products and services to forces operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

“Our goal is to remain a world class workforce,” said Capt. Pidgeon, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka commanding officer. “We believe this initiative enables the professional growth and development of our workforce by providing training, education, quality-of-life support and optimizing workforce requirements.”

The English lessons are conducted three times a week for one hour, taught by three instructors who are native English speakers. Some of the courses brushed up on basic conversation skills while others reviewed the use of past, present and present progressive tenses, with instructors presenting examples of subjects performing tasks and asking students to describe the actions being performed. Students had a wide range of English-speaking skills—with some able to speak and read English just short of native proficiency levels—attending the courses as a refresher to fine tune their skills.

“At work, English is a communication tool, not a subject to study,” said one NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s Japanese civilian employee taking the courses. “It’s important that I speak with confidence, enjoy speaking in English and use conversations with intonation to communicate with my American coworkers.”

Other ways students practiced English was through the use of journals, quizzes and simulating conversations between attendees.

NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka’s Japanese civilian employees make up over half of the command, working in contracting, business operations, regional services, fuel services and more. The remainder of the workforce consists of military, U.S. civilian and contractor personnel, typically serving between two to five years.

Japanese civilian employees normally work with the command for much longer periods, where it’s common to find Japanese civilian employees who have worked at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka for 10, 20, and in some cases, over 30 years.

“For U.S. civilians and military personnel, we usually spend only two to five years in theater,” said Timothy Adkins, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka executive director. “Our Japanese colleagues provide the continuity to the command with their skillsets and length of service. This naturally makes them the backbone of our operation. Developing English language skills provide a baseline for our operations in the years to come.”

NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka is one of eight FLCs under Commander, NAVSUP. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP's mission is to provide supplies, services, and quality-of-life support to the Navy and joint warfighter.

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