PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (June 18, 2015) -- From new hires to senior leaders, Picatinny employees gathered recently for the ARDEC Mentoring Program social event, held at the arsenal's Cannon Gate Catering and Conference Center.

The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center mentoring program aims to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion by offering junior employees the opportunity to establish a mentor-protégé relationship with ARDEC's diverse senior workforce.

The senior workforce (mentors) provides junior employees (protégés) guidance on professional development, as well as helps these protégés acquire the skills for developing successful and robust careers. Some skills a protégé could learn include networking, communicating with team members from all organizational levels, finding job opportunities to support career goals, and understanding the Army values.

"I find that the most beneficial way to learn all the aspects of Picatinny, and the acquisition life, is to have these connections," said Rebekah Hayward, a program analyst, who has been a mentee since April 2015.

Two-hundred members have participated in this program since it started in 2013. The program was established by the Human Capital Office and the ARDEC Diversity Council after receiving feedback from several surveys requesting a mentoring program.

The program holds training sessions twice a year, in April and October. It also holds informal social events every quarter.

During training sessions, participants have the opportunity to identify potential mentors and protégés while simultaneously leaning effective ways to build that professional relationship. After each session, protégés are assigned to a mentor, who can customize each mentoring plan. The next training session will be in October.

The social events focus on building and strengthening the relationships among the program as well as provide a time for members to discuss their mentoring plans, challenges and successes, and what've they've learned so far in the program. The next social event will be held in August.

"The most memorable thing is when you see a protégé implement your idea and it leads to a promotion or a finished product," said David Magidson, deputy associate director for integration at the Fire Control Systems and Technology Directorate.

To become a protégé, members must register through MeSpace, where they will fill out a questionnaire that includes questions about academic background, professional goals, their personality, and what he or she seeks in a mentor.

To become a mentor, members must work under ARDEC and be a GS-14 or higher. Currently, the mentoring team consists of 10 members. But the program seeks mentors from all ARDEC organization, encouraging a cross-cultural environment, where protégés can work with mentors from in and outside their career fields.

For more information regarding the ARDEC mentoring program, please contact Adam Druga (adam.t.druga.civ@mail.mil), Adeola Olabisi (adeola.olabisi.civ@mail.mil), or Jody Bisceglia (jody.l.bisceglia.civ@mail.mil ).

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The Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to empower the Army and joint warfighter with technology and engineering solutions that ensure decisive capabilities for unified land operations. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.