By Ms. Sandra Arnold (USACE)August 15, 2012
GALVESTON, Texas (Aug. 15, 2012) -- What do you get when you partner the world's largest public engineering design and construction management agency with one the top university's engineering technology programs in Texas? -- An invaluable relationship between the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District and Prairie View A&M University, committed to working together to enhance opportunities for minority students throughout the Corps.
Achieving diversity in the workplace is one goal most employers work toward but often find challenging to accomplish. In an effort to create a workplace that is reflective of the communities in which the USACE Galveston District staff serves, this partnering agreement encourages engineering students to consider a career with the Corps upon graduation.
"This partnership will assist the USACE Galveston District in recruiting a workforce comprised of a diverse pool of high-performing individuals with valuable talents and strengths that are critical to providing excellent services to all Corps customers," said Dr. Rose Caballero, Equal Employment Opportunity officer and coordinator of the Advanced Minorities' Interest in Engineering Program for the USACE Galveston District.
Renewed June 21, 2012, the partnership agreement outlines opportunities to assist in preparing engineering students for responsible positions in an engineering environment to include environmental engineering and civil programs as well as to enlighten engineering students about the Corps, its missions, unique capabilities and opportunities through student career experience programs, internships and career development programs.
"A diverse workplace requires a commitment from leadership to promote fairness and opportunity at every level within the Corps," said Commander Col. Christopher Sallese, USACE Galveston District. "We promote an inclusive environment and pride ourselves on recruiting the most talented candidates to join our team."
Part of the AMIE Program, the overarching partnering relationship that USACE has with 14 historically black colleges and universities across the nation, the district's model partnership helps prepare students for leadership positions in the engineering field after graduation.
"This program exposes students to professional and innovative opportunities through a world-class training experience which puts them in position to be some of the most sought after engineers available for employment," said Commander Lt. Col. Antoinette R. Gant, USACE Albuquerque District. "Prairie View A&M University has always been about producing graduates who are well rounded and prepared for life after graduation. This partnership is an exemplary example of two great teams working together to empower our leaders of tomorrow."
Gant, who graduated from PVAMU in 1994 as a Distinguished Military Graduate with a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering and a commission in the USACE, was recognized by Lt. Gen. (ret.) Julius Becton, president of the university, as the "Ideal Woman of the Year" and received the President's Award for her outstanding leadership, academic and community service at the university and within the local community. In 1993, she was featured in the Fall '93 Edition of the U.S. Black Engineer Magazine regarding her views on the value of participating in an internship before graduation.
PVAMU is one of 105 HBCUs that represent only three percent of the nation's institutions of higher learning and graduate nearly 20 percent of African American students with baccalaureate degrees, according to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Moreover, the institutions graduate more than 50 percent of African American professionals and public school teachers and continue to demonstrate the most effective ability to graduate African American students poised to be competitive in the corporate, research, academic, governmental and military arenas.
"The partnership that PVAMU has with the Army Corps of Engineers is doubly rewarding," said Dr. Kendall T. Harris, dean of the Roy G. Perry College of Engineering. "Not only are our students able to gain real world experience through lectures and internships but the staff of the Corps is able to hear from faculty and staff as we identify research opportunities that may result in expanded engineering capabilities. Partnerships like this highlight the continued efforts to enhance opportunities for minority students who are interested in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields."
Currently, USACE Galveston District has five PVAMU graduates employed to include civil engineers Franchelle Craft, Clark Colquitt, Earnestine Brown-Roach, Brenda Hayden and Contract Specialist Jackie Adekanbi.
"The USACE Galveston District's internship and partnership programs with PVAMU have directly contributed to the recruitment, mentorship, development, advancement and retention of African Americans in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies," said Sallese. "We're proud that our efforts to eliminate barriers that hinder equal opportunity for African Americans in the Corps are working and we'll continue to focus on enhancing and promoting programs that result in equal employment opportunities."
Now in its 16th year, the USACE Galveston District's partnering agreement remains a driving force in the district's ability to attract and retain a diverse pool of engineering talent and continues to serve as a model program for other districts to follow.
"This partnering agreement can become a benchmark that helps set the standard for other agreements across the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," said Brig. Gen. Thomas Kula, commander of the USACE Southwestern Division. "It promotes a passion that both organizations share for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math initiatives and for diversity in our workforce. A workforce comprised of diverse individuals, bringing many skills and backgrounds to the table, makes us not only a stronger organization but also one more capable of bringing innovative and enduring value to our nation."
For more information regarding career fairs, AMIE conference or assistance with coordinating campus visits, contact Dr. Rose Caballero at 409-766-3920 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the USACE Galveston District's partnership agreement with PVAMU visit http://www.swg.usace.army.mil/About/Partners/PrairieViewAMUniversity.aspx. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.