Gary Woodruff, Fort Leonard Wood Equal Employment Opportunity program manager, and Channa Ringo, the EEO program’s Special Emphasis Programs manager, discuss the re-establishment of Special Emphasis Programs and the diversity council here to assist in attracting, developing and retaining diverse civilian workforce talent to Fort Leonard Wood.
Gary Woodruff, Fort Leonard Wood Equal Employment Opportunity program manager, and Channa Ringo, the EEO program’s Special Emphasis Programs manager, discuss the re-establishment of Special Emphasis Programs and the diversity council here to assist in attracting, developing and retaining diverse civilian workforce talent to Fort Leonard Wood. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Fort Leonard Wood Equal Employment Opportunity program leaders are re-energizing Special Emphasis Programs and the diversity council here to assist in attracting, developing and retaining diverse civilian workforce talent to the Missouri Ozarks.

According to Gary Woodruff, who took over as EEO manager in December, the diversity council is ideally made up of many EEO groups — also commonly referred to as federally-protected minority groups — who brainstorm ideas and act as a sounding board to identify barriers that keep minorities from seeking federal employment — specifically here.

“We want to grow the diversity on Fort Leonard Wood,” Woodruff said. “We have to find a way to attract those EEO groups from across the country.”

The SEPs will assist in building an effective council, Woodruff said. By Army Regulation 690-12, Civilian Personnel Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity, Army SEPs include:

  • the Black/African American Employment Program;
  • the American Indian and Alaska Native Employment Program;
  • the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Employment Program;
  • the Federal Women’s Program;
  • the Hispanic Employment Program;
  • the Disabled Veterans Affirmative Action Program; and
  • the Individuals with Disabilities Program.

The SEPs “affirm the value of workforce diversity, cultivate a culture of inclusion and implement human capital policies designed to recruit, develop and retain the best and brightest of America’s diverse talent pool,” said Channa Ringo, the EEO program’s SEP manager since the beginning of the year.

“For example, with the Federal Women’s Program, females on the installation are going to come together to identify the barriers they see — and what we need to do better — to reach outside of Fort Leonard Wood and attract more females into the workforce here,” Ringo said, adding they envision having at least one FWP event during March — in line with Women’s History Month.

Areas of focus for each SEP include recruitment, training, education, retention, upward mobility, career counseling, mentoring, promotion, equity in pay, and any other barriers that may be affecting a particular EEO group, Ringo said.

The SEPs and diversity council program have been dormant here since 2015, Woodruff said. The programs “are being re-energized to promote our more diverse and inclusive workforce,” he said.

A more diverse and inclusive workforce is a stronger workforce, Ringo said.

“Ideas don’t happen in a vacuum — a more diverse workforce hears different ideas, has different experiences,” Ringo said. “With diversity, we have the opportunity to expand our knowledge, expand our experiences, innovate and set new goals for what’s relevant today — not what was relevant before.”

It’s just like investing, Woodruff added.

“The more you’re able to diversify your portfolio, there’s a better chance your portfolio will grow,” he said. “The more you diversify your workforce, the more you’re going to get those fresher ideas, those other views that make your organization better.”

Ringo asked that individuals interested in getting involved give her a call at 573.596.0602.

“We’re working to enhance a positive working environment,” Ringo said. “It’s an open opportunity for different co-workers of different generations, different backgrounds, to come together and share ideas. We want to enhance the workforce by working together.”