132d Wing partnership with APEX builds next generation skills

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Michael J. Kelly
  • 132d Wing Public Affairs

The 132d Wing and Aspiring Professionals Experience (APEX) became partners in July 2017 for the purpose of mentorship and professional skills development. On December 20, 2017, members of the 132d Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Group’s outreach team visited the Waukee Interactive Learning Center in Waukee, Iowa where students in the APEX program presented their completed project.


The students constructed a physical and virtual reality model of Monarch Cement Company, a site used by the 132d ISRG to train its members on the functions of buildings. The project allowed the ISRG to gain a useful product for training while building the STEM skills of the students.


“For many of these students, it’s their first taste of life after education,” said Chief Master Sgt. James Holwegner, 132d ISRG superintendent. “We were able to mentor them in certain areas which allowed them to grow and gain confidence in their presentation skill, meeting skills and communication skills.”

Using common craft materials such as paper, card board and Styrofoam blocks, the students constructed the physical model which resembled the construction company’s work site. They also built a virtual 3D version of the building using advanced technology software. This allowed ISRG members the ability to view all areas of the building as well as account for all possible weather and time factors.


“We basically gave them a general idea of what we were looking for and they came back with two outstanding projects,” said Holwegner.


Part of the 132d ISRG outreach team’s strategy is to focus on areas in the state that relate to Geospatial Intelligence. One of those areas is the State of Iowa's Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program. The 132d ISRG became aware of the APEX program when they sent a member of their outreach team to a STEM Advisory Board meeting.


“Just knowing that my students are interacting with an organization that has as much importance and history in Iowa, is extremely valuable,” said Jeremy Cooper, an APEX instructor who guided the team of students. “For them, getting to put down on their portfolios that they’ve had a military organization as a client is huge.”


In July of 2017, the partnership was formed and when the fall semester of school ended, the APEX students were able to show off what they had worked on the past four months.

“It was a great experience working with the Iowa Air National Guard,” said Charles Goulding, a senior at Waukee High School. “It helped me learn how to work with a client and build skills before I go to college.”


The focus has been a mutual exchange of values so that students can learn the necessary skills for the course and to make sure to add value to that business partner is some capacity.”


The 132d ISRG leadership hopes to continue partnering with other organizations in the community in the future.


“Building and fostering relationships within the community and the state is what the ISRG Outreach team is all about,” said Holwegner.