By Rachel Hoskins, Personnel Program Analyst, Operational Test Command Public Affairs

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota -- Four Army Civilians of Operational Test Command (OTC) attended the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) National Conference here November 10 through 12.

The AISES National Conference serves as a one-stop shop for employers to recruit from the top Native Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) talent.

Over the three-day event, 1,800 attendees and 200 exhibitors met at the Minneapolis Convention Center, with a single focus in mind: educational, professional, and workforce development.

OTC's agenda was to join in the Career Fair portion of the National Conference to market not only OTC as a possible future employer, but to represent the Army as a whole.

"The students consider this place (AISES National Conference) as the GO TO place to find a job," said Kellie Jewett-Fernandez, AISES Director of Business and Program Development.

"AISES provides an opportunity to diversify the talent pool within your organization" she added.

Through support of STEM Programs such as AISES, OTC is able to market the Army as a viable employer, while continuing to recruit and diversify the workforce of the future.

"I do feel that conferences like this, where we (OTC) get to talk to students, are a win-win," said Vicente Gonzales, AISES attendee and electronics engineer for OTC's Test Technology Directorate. "By talking to us (OTC), these students get a better idea of how their field of study may be applied in support of the military and government."

"Furthermore," he added, "we are an aging workforce and we must reach out to obtain the skillsets and talent that exist out there."

As the Army's only independent operational tester, OTC tests and assesses Army, joint, and multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using typical Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. OTC is required by public law to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer -- the American Soldier.