A partnership designed to train and employ students earned Tobyhanna Army Depot recognition by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) last week. The 2019 "Center on Employment Outstanding Employer Partner Award" recognizes employers who have a sustained record of hiring NTID deaf or hard of hearing co-op students/ graduates.

NTID is one of nine colleges on the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus and more than 1,200 students enroll in their programs each year. Tobyhanna's partnership with NTID dates back to 2012. To date, Tobyhanna has hired five NTID graduates as full-time employees. This summer, Tobyhanna hosted two co-op student trainees, Yahya Moore and Charles Pinkard.

"It was my dream to work for the military because I love the Army," said Moore, adding that he was particularly enjoying the opportunity to work with other deaf employees. Pinkard agreed.

"When I applied for my co-op, I met with two companies. After the interview, I really wanted to work at Tobyhanna because it sounded like a place where I could learn many new things. That turned out to be true," said Pinkard. He went on to say that the co-op helped bring what he had learned at NTID to life.

NTID representatives visited Tobyhanna in July to ensure their curriculum aligned with depot operations and workforce expectations. They also took the opportunity to see how their students were integrating into the organization.

"In my observation, there is no such thing as inequality at Tobyhanna," said Mark Davis, Instructional Lecturer at RIT, noting that he saw a great level of respect among the workforce. He plans to bring students back to provide practical experience using machines not available at NTID.

Thomas Petroski, Chief of the Systems Integration and Support Directorate's C4ISR Refinishing Division hopes to expand the partnership in the future to employ students in a variety of disciplines across Tobyhanna. Davis agreed.

"Let's think big and get students ready for the real world."