ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Eleven members of the Aberdeen Proving Ground workforce graduated at a ceremony for the Central Michigan University's Global Campus Human Resources Administration graduate certificate program, held at Mallette Hall at the C4ISR campus June 18.

The nine-month program is targeted at personnel in the human resource career field and is designed to further enhance employee development and skill sets on the job.

Employees volunteered for enrollment in the classroom-based program, which was the first time ever offered at APG. Curriculum included courses such as Human Resource Management, Collective Bargaining and Labor Law, Organizational Development, and Negotiation in Employee relations. Participants convened once a week, on average, over a nine-month period and completed assignments that included a final examination, presentation and research paper.

The program culminated in a graduate certificate in Human Resources Administration. Graduates included personnel from both the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and the Army's Communications-Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center.

Maj. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, APG senior mission and CECOM commander, and Gary Martin, deputy to the commanding general, presided over the event and spoke to the graduates. Ferrell, also CMU alumnae, presented the commencement an address.

"I am proud and thrilled we have this caliber of professionals in an organization dedicated to APG. They sacrificed their free time and time with their families to help this installation accomplish the mission," Ferrell said.

Maria Layton, chief of the CECOM G1, Directorate of Personnel and Training, led the effort to establish, design and execute this program, in coordination with Martin, who is a long-time champion of workforce development.

Martin gave the closing remarks for the ceremony and touched on how human resources personnel are an "untapped potential" and are "underutilized." He emphasized the importance of the career field, now more than ever, given the current environment of fiscal uncertainty.

"There is no better time than now to rely on HR [human resources]…We are entering in to a massive human capitol challenge with fifty percent of the workforce eligible for retirement in the next few years," said Martin.

Martin explained how the CECOM G1 was striving to offer additional courses to advance the certificate program to a master's degree in Human Resources.

"Our commitment is to continue the program to a graduate level so a year from now, candidates will officially be able to flip over their tassels."