By Bret Anne Serbin | Daily Inter Lake | August 30, 2021
Cindy Covarrubias can’t share much information about her military career. Such is the nature of working in Army intelligence.
Her job generally involved translating Arabic signals transmitted from the Middle East while she was stationed in Germany for four years. It gave her a chance to use her language skills in service of U.S. national security.
Now retired from the military, Covarrubias wants to help others find opportunities to fit their talents into rewarding careers, in the military or as civilians.
Covarrubias is instructing a new course at Flathead Valley Community College to prepare students for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.
The ASVAB, as it’s known among service members, is an assessment that determines the roles of newly enlisted military members. It consists of nine subtests in categories such as word knowledge, arithmetic reasoning and mechanical comprehension.
ASVAB scores dictate whether a potential recruit qualifies for service, which branch best fits their skills, and what positions they could be eligible for in their military career.
Though the test has a strong bearing on the future of potential service members, there aren’t many resources available to help prepare for the comprehensive exam.
Covarrubias has set out to try to fill that gap.
She’s offering a two-week prep course for the ASVAB through FVCC’s Adult Education Program. The intensive class meets for three hours a day, five days a week, for two straight weeks.
It’s the first offering of its kind in Flathead County and possibly the only ASVAB prep course in the entire state, Covarrubias said. She’s seen interest from potential recruits all over the country, and demand for the course only seems to be growing.
Covarrubias said intel and logistics are the two hardest military fields to get into, and she has plenty of firsthand knowledge about intelligence work.
She said her course can help students who simply want to pass the ASVAB, but it can also serve as a boost to the highest-scoring recruits to give them a better shot at qualifying for positions in these fields.
It’s also useful for those don’t want to serve in the military, Covarrubias said.
“It’s a good test to take, just in general,” she said. “When you’re 17, you don’t know what you want to do. This shows you what you’re good at.”
While many who take the ASVAB are high school students, Covarrubias pointed out the test is available to anyone who is eligible for military service. Her course is open to “anybody in the community.”
The course is free, and it could save time, money and energy for people who might benefit from the ASVAB. Covarrubias encouraged students to think of the course as “an investment.”
Covarrubias said teaching the class is rewarding for her as well, as it gives her a way to stay connected to the military and pass on knowledge to the next generation.
“I was trying to stay in the community, not in uniform,” Covarrubias said. “I was trying to give back.”
Upcoming course dates are Oct. 4 through Oct. 15, and Dec. 6 through Dec. 17. More information can be found at fvcc.edu/what-we-offer/adult-education-program/asvab.