ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, III. -- Creating and maintaining cultural diversity is a critical aspect of the Joint Munitions Command's human resource strategy. The Minority College Relations Program is a 15-week opportunity for undergraduate students, recent college graduates and graduate students to train within various Department of Defense organizations across the Army.
The MCRP on the Rock Island Arsenal is a co-sponsored program by the Army Sustainment Command and Joint Munitions Command Equal Opportunity Offices. The program grants students and graduates from eligible universities an opportunity to gain work experience to further their career success.
Eleven interns from across the country are currently working within ASC, Army Contracting Command and JMC at RIA, as well as at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, Okla. The program exposes minority students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges to employment opportunities within the Department of Defense.
The interns have a variety of reasons for applying to the program.
"I applied to the program to gain a better understanding of the Army federal job sector, as well as have the opportunity to experience a future potential career," said Indigo Rockmore, a recent graduate of Spelman College, Atlanta, Ga. I am enjoying the experience working within JMC's radioactive waste and environmental compliance area of the Safety and Risk Management Directorate.
Jacob Garcia, a recent graduate of Florida International University, Miami, described this opportunity as a "blessing."
"I knew early in my college career that I wanted to work in government and was struggling to find ways to get experience with them. This internship was something that checked all the boxes I was interested in and I couldn't let an opportunity like this slip away," said Garcia.
MCRP lead, Vicki Payton, chief, Combat Munitions Division, Sustainment Production Directorate, has significant goals for the program.
"I have high hopes for the program. The program has offered internships for more than twenty years, during which many of the interns have become federal Civilian employees. It is my goal to continue the JMC MCRP internship legacy," she added.
Offering words of wisdom, Payton strongly encouraged MCRP interns to talk with their sponsors about the career topics that interest them. ASC, ACC and JMC leadership support cross-training opportunities for the interns to see what other commands can offer them, as well as taking full advantage of job experiences they want to be personally exposed to while training at RIA and McAlester," she said.
"The interns bring a wealth of educational knowledge which allows for the development of new, creative and innovative strategies to meet needs of our various commands," said Cory Britt, ammunition demilitarization specialist, JMC and MCRP representative.
Taylor Donaldson, a recent graduate of South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, echoed Payton's remarks. She believes that MCRP sponsors have been insightful and supporting.
"People who motivate others and have a positive attitude inspire me," said Donaldson. "I feel that there is much to learn in the Equal Employment Opportunity Office, and I am excited to continue to learn from them."
Through the MCRP, JMC, ACC and ASC are striving to create a diverse workforce with experienced interns. These human resource efforts ensure an expanded culture in the DoD's future workforce.
This year's interns began work on January 13. The current program will conclude on April 17.