ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala --Anniston Army Depot is committed to recruiting and training diverse talent for its workforce. Recently, depot leaders participated in the Black Engineer of the Year Awards Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Global Competitiveness Conference, hiring multiple new employees and continuing efforts to create a more diverse workforce.

BEYA, also known as the Be Everything You Are conference, is the leading forum for connecting top minority STEM-educated talent with the Nation’s top employers. In its 35 year history, several government agencies have partnered in the conference, including the Army Materiel Command. This year was ANAD’s first time attending the conference, held virtually due to COVID-19.

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“This was our first time participating,” said Thyris Banks, chief of Business and Support Operations. “It was a high visibility two-day conference that allowed us to review hundreds of candidates from every school you could think of, especially historically black colleges and universities.”

Participation in this year’s conference came as a charge from AMC commanding general, Gen. Edward M. Daly. AMC has participated in the conference for many years and boasts of its benefits. Daly and Army Tank-automotive and Armaments commanding general, Maj. Gen. Darren Werner, both spent time chatting with candidates in the virtual booth during the event’s hiring fair.

“Our commander, Col. Walker, was also heavily involved,” said Banks. “He monitored and engaged with the chat throughout the conference.”

The virtual nature of the conference proved to be advantageous for hiring agencies such as ANAD, allowing for the review of resumes and transcripts within the platform and the ability to chat live or virtually interview candidates on the spot.

And for candidates, the virtual nature and direct communication were certainly a perk. Dewayne Kendricks, a program and management analyst in the Directorate of Strategic Planning hired through the BEYA conference, has a unique story of how he learned about BEYA and ANAD.

“I’d recently graduated from Alabama A&M University with a Master’s Degree in Logistics and Supply Chain management, so naturally I was applying to a lot of jobs via USAjobs,” Kendricks said. “Then one day I was scrolling on Facebook and saw an ad about BEYA, so I signed up. That very same day, I was contacted about my resume and qualifications.”

Kendricks has been on depot since March and says he has learned so much.

“I’ve received so much training and I’m learning a lot about ANAD and its mission,” he said.

Four employees have been hired at ANAD through BEYA in the Directorate of Production Engineering, the Directorate of Strategic Planning and the Directorate of Production. One additional employee is slated to begin in DPE in July.

According to Banks, these positions will be treated similar to any other development program, with training for individuals as they progress. “The training aspect of these positions is critical,” he said. “We get to make sure they are exposed to the basics of the job and help them continue to grow.”

He also suspects participation in BEYA will be expected from AMC for years to come. “This effort gives us an advantage and access to a bigger, more diverse pool of STEM candidates that you can’t find through traditional measures,” Banks said. “And this is right in line with the Department of Defense’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

Kendricks is grateful for the opportunity to grow at ANAD and encourages anyone interested in a career in the U.S. government to attend BEYA and connect with the different agencies there. “I would have never known about this great opportunity if I didn’t take a chance,” he said.

BEYA 2022 is slated for February 16 - 19 in Washington, DC. For more information about the conference visit: www.beya.org.