By Anthony RicchiazziMay 8, 2018
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa.--A partnership with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) has helped a machinist land a permanent job at Tobyhanna Army Depot.
Gregory Sabol, an industrial worker helper in the Systems Integration and Support Directorate's Machining Branch, participated in a summer hire program between Tobyhanna and NTID, which is one of nine colleges on the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus. More than 1,200 deaf or hard of hearing students attend the campus each year, which is based in Rochester, New York. The Machining Branch is part of the Fabrication and Assembly Division.
"I got into machining while attending a private high school [The GOW School, Buffalo, New York]," Sabol said. "During my senior year I was taking a robotics class that included a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine and I began learning how to use it."
He used the machine as part of the process to construct battlebots, or fighting robots.
He then went to RIT for a summer course in computer integrated machining technology and enrolled in a four year program with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
"NTID told me about the depot's summer hire program, so I participated in that during the summer of 2017, working on helmet brackets" Sabol said. "I graduated from NTID in January and was hired here full time."
Sabol noted that the work he does here is basically the same as what he learned in school, but the machines he used then are older than Tobyhanna's.
"I've learned a lot here because the machines have a lot more automation than the ones I trained on," he said. "The work has been rewarding."
He said other employees have been helpful even though it was difficult at first. Employees had to exchange notes with Sabol, but some have learned basic sign language.
"They have gotten used to me and now communicating is easier," Sabol said. "I can work more closely with them, especially the ones who can sign."
"Greg works alongside Tobyhanna employees and at first it was a learning curve for everyone," said Keith Knecht, chief of the Machining Branch. "Being deaf did not in any way effect the communication between Greg and the guys on the floor. We worked around it with paper and pen and texted over the phone. Greg has proven to be an asset in the machining department. He has the positive attitude that any supervisor would like to have in their shop. He's a fast learner and works with guys on the shop floor to learn more about the CNC machines."
The partnership program began in 2009 and continued until 2012 through the SIS Directorate. Due to the federal government budget constraints, the program was put on hold.
"Fortunately, just this past summer (2017), we were able to bring this program back," said EEO Specialist Shannon Reyes. "The program would have never materialized without the willingness of Keith and Tom Petroski. They took the first two students who went through the program."
Petroski is chief of the Fabrication and Assembly Division.
"I went up to NTID National Technical Institute for the Deaf to interview a few students from the program," Knecht said. "One of the students I interviewed was Greg; he was very excited about the possibility of working at Tobyhanna for the summer of 2017. So with the help of many people at Tobyhanna and NTID we made it possible."
EEO is working with other depot organizations to possibly expand the program by bringing students to work in Production Engineering and other directorates.
"This program is important not only to support people with disabilities, but to Tobyhanna's ability to support military readiness and shape our future when we hire people well trained for the jobs they do here," Reyes said.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna's Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C4ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.
Tobyhanna's unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters. About 3,200 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command. Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.