The Department of Defense Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity recognized two individuals from the Air Force Materiel Command for their work in the Workforce Recruitment Program to provide jobs for students with disabilities.
The program is sponsored by the Defense Department and the Department of Labor, and it is funded by the DOD.
Annually, WRP recruiters interview candidates on college and university campuses across the nation, including Wright State University.
“The collaboration with the base and where that’s really helped out with this endeavor is that it is a very intentional process,” said Jason Gepperth, Wright State University Disability & STEM Resource Specialist.
“They get matched up with a human resources representative who can help navigate some difficult questions and make sure proper accommodations during the interview process are taken into account.”
Due to this partnership between Wright State and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, third-year Wright State student Ben Sanders has the opportunity to work on base.
Sanders is studying HR management at Wright State and is enrolled in the office of disability services, where he learned about the WRP and applied to join the program.
“There can be challenges for individuals with disabilities with finding jobs,” said Sanders. “This is a really great way for students to get their foot in the door and have this opportunity.”
The WRP accepted Sanders, and starting in March, he began an HR internship at AFMC.
“I love working with groups of people, and it’s been really cool to see the many sides of HR with this internship because it is such a huge department,” he said.
This year, Sanders was chosen as a recipient of the “Outstanding WRP Participant” award.
Throughout his internship, Sanders has proven himself worthy of the “Outstanding WRP Participant” award by organizing an AFMC Equal Employment Opportunity symposium, promoting the WRP and matching WRP candidates with jobs at Wright-Patterson AFB.
“I do think the award shows how much I’ve been able to put back into the program, even though this is my first year in WRP,” said Sanders. “It is really a big honor to receive the award and know that some of my work has been able to contribute to different students being able to find job placements.”
Molly Fore, AFMC human resources specialist and WRP recruiter, was selected as the “Outstanding WRP Recruiter” for Military Departments.
Fore works with Wright State’s office of disability services to find eligible candidates for the WRP and train mentors and supervisors. Additionally, she interviews students for job openings on base.
“I was blown away in the interviews with most of the candidates,” she said. “These students are typically very punctual and detailed with how they do things. And the people that are helping them onboard love working with this group of students.”
According to Fore, nearly half of the WRP applicants from Wright State have been accepted into the program so far.
Many of the applicants are being hired to work in mechanical engineering, civil engineering and computer science positions on Wright-Patterson AFB.
“The program really speaks for itself,” said Fore. “This is the first year that the Department of the Air Force has exhausted all of its allocations and had to request more from the Department of Labor. It speaks volumes to our partnership with local universities.”
According to Fore, the success of the WRP is not only represented in the numbers, but the students. “The true success is seeing these interns have opportunities that they may not have received without the WRP," she said.
Fore’s work with the WRP has helped raise awareness of the program at Wright State and at Wright-Patterson AFB. The “Outstanding WRP Recruiter” award speaks to the value of her contribution to the WRP.
"This award illustrates how far we have come with the program in AFMC,” said Fore. “The past three years, I've participated as a WRP recruiter, and each year we've made improvements to how we recruit interns. It is a testament to how our unconventional modifications to the program are improving the process at a national level.”
Fore and Sanders will visit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. later this month to attend the 2018 Annual WRP Awards Ceremony and Networking Event, where they will receive their awards and hear from keynote speaker Lauren Aggen, EEO Specialist for the U.S. Department of the Army.
For more information about the WRP, contact Molly Fore at 937-656-2846 or firstname.lastname@example.org.