The 2021 Black Engineer of the Year Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math career fair happened in a virtual environment Feb. 11-13.  Tank-automotive and Armaments Command exceeded command expectations for recruiting during the event.
The 2021 Black Engineer of the Year Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math career fair happened in a virtual environment Feb. 11-13. Tank-automotive and Armaments Command exceeded command expectations for recruiting during the event. (Photo Credit: CECOM Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL

DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. ‒ The Army’s Project Inclusion initiative outlines in a very visible way the service’s commitment to creating a more inclusive and diverse workforce through its efforts to recruit students from historically black or minority academic institutions.

This commitment was on full display recently due in large part to the efforts of Frances Muntford, Management and Program Analyst, Workforce Development and Dynetta Jones-Ayers, Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist and Diversity Programs Manager, two employees from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, who put together a team made up of directors, hiring managers and HR professionals to participate in the 2021 Black Engineer of the Year Science, Technology, Engineering and Math virtual career fair on February 11-13.

Although the Army has been participating in BEYA for years, this is the first time that a large number of TACOM hiring officials have participated in the event with a clear mandate from TACOM leadership to recruit and hire the most diverse, qualified talent possible.

Using a cross-functional method of support from various organizations across the enterprise, TACOM marketed its presence at the event through its social media platforms asking students to submit resumes and sign-up early for interviews with the hiring team. The early efforts paid off because more than 500 resumes were received prior to the start of the event for the positions advertised through USAJobs.gov and on the career page of TACOM’s website. The resumes were reviewed prior to and on the opening day of the career fair and those found most qualified were given on-the-spot interviews or interviews were scheduled days before the close of the event.

Muntford, stated that this was a successful hiring event across a wide spectrum of career fields.

“We’ve proven that we can hire more than just engineers at this type of event,” she said, “The command has never recruited such high caliber and vastly qualified candidates in such a short span of time.”

The Army made it a bit easier to hire during the event by giving TACOM HR managers Direct Hiring Authority.

“This process gives us a more innovative approach to recruiting and hiring,” Muntford said. “DHAs made it possible for us to recruit a number of candidates very quickly.”

According to Jones-Ayers, TACOM’s leadership expected to fill 20-25 at this event. Currently, 27 potential new employees have submitted their letters of intent, which is more than half of the 48 positions the command was recruiting for at BEYA.

“There were some good candidates,” said Jones-Ayers, “We’ve been missing out on an opportunity to bring in this caliber of talent over the past few years.”

Ayers attributes the successes of TACOM presence at this year’s event to active participation from TACOM leadership at all levels. Brig. Gen. Darren Werner, Commanding General TACOM, was highly involved from the start of planning, to setting the hiring goals.

Werner, along with Marion Whicker, Executive Director of TACOM’s Integrated Logistics Support Center, participated in a mentorship discussion during the event.

“As a leader, I think it’s important to provide mentorship opportunities to those just starting out in their careers,” said Werner, “BEYA offered an excellent opportunity to reach out to highly qualified STEM graduates to potentially recruit them into the TACOM workforce.”

Whicker supported Werner’s sentiments and believes the candidates will make great additions to accomplish the greater TACOM mission.

“The ILSC is always looking for diversity within our work centers, it provides a better environment for an exchange of differing ideas that lead to solving problems,” said Whicker, “I can think of no better way to do that than to recruit the best talent fresh out of school that can be molded into tomorrow’s Army Civilian leaders.”

Although TACOM participated in the career fair and mentoring sessions, BEYA also included a variety of seminars, special programs for students in grades K-12, awards galas and sessions for college students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“This was an outstanding endeavor for the command,” said Muntford. “It was very successful for TACOM to have participated.”