From left, Pam Fry, from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Diane Simmons, from the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, and Jackie Laroche, from the Civilian Human Resources Agency, Human Resource Development Division, conduct a mediation practice exercise during the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute Mediation Certification Program that was held July 26 to 30.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Twenty-six employees from organizations across Aberdeen Proving Ground participated in the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute Mediation Certification Program from July 26 to 30.

This pilot program was initiated by the APG Civilian Personnel Advisory Center and was offered at APG through DEOMI.

The employees, who volunteered to participate in the program, are now certified to serve as mediators. They have received 40 hours of training, including a practicum.

Deborah Prue, CPAC Human Resources Development Specialist, said that the mediators trained in the program will facilitate mediation between APG employees with workplace disputes.

Mediators, who will be impartial to both parties, use various techniques to open, or improve, dialogue between disputants, aiming to help the parties reach an agreement on the disputed matter.

Prue added that mediation will not take the place of formal Equal Employment Opportunity complaints.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command provided funding for this initiative. Gary Martin, RDECOM executive deputy to the commander spoke to the group of trainees July 28. Martin said the mediation program is timely as communication problems and frustrations are likely to arise with the many changes that APG is going through with base realignment and closure.

"Everyone will be affected by BRAC," he said.

Martin said that the Mediation Certification Program is important because lack of communication can be a big problem in the workplace.

"Problems come from management not conveying to the employees clearly enough and employees not really understanding the intent of management," he said.

Martin said that it is his intent to offer more mediation training opportunities for APG employees.

"Mediation is a great thing; it is all about opening communications and understanding both sides," he said.

During the training's graduation on July 30, Leslie Lovick, Director of the APG Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, thanked the program's participants.

"The payoff for this program will be down the road, Lovick said. "This program is bigger than all of us; the Army is looking at APG's program as a pilot."

Colonel Orlando Ortiz, APG Garrison and deputy installation commander, said the Mediation Certification Program is a great opportunity for APG, and that the program is critical during a time of many changes.

"I feel that the right individuals were selected to attend this training," He said. "We are breaking ground and you are in the right place at the right time. Don't lose that energy, keep the spirit and move forward as you will be the unsung heroes that helped the installation be successful."

Felix Cruz, an employee of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, who recently transferred to APG from Ft. Monmouth, N.J., said that he saw the program as a chance to help those who are new to the APG community.

"I saw this program as an opportunity to help the new personnel," Cruz said. "I also thought that the training would improve my communication skills."

Marcella Heilig, who works for the U.S Army Aberdeen Test Center said that she wanted to become a mediator as a way to give back to the APG community.

"I try to look for ways to volunteer my time to help others," she said. "I felt like the week-long training was really beneficial and that I am prepared to be a mediator."

For information about the Mediation Certification Program contact Prue at (410) 306-2468.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16