DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, July 31, 2015 – Four DoD civilian employees received the Judith C. Gilliom Award in recognition of their significant contributions to their organizations at a July 28 DoD-hosted ceremony held at the National Youth Transitions Center here.
The awardees are participants in the Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students and Recent Graduates with Disabilities. The WRP is a recruitment and referral program that connects hiring managers with highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace.
The award recipients include:
-- Divya Hazel, Department of the Air Force;
-- Ericka Hiler, Department of Defense Education Activity;
-- Bryan Richardson, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and
-- Flynn Rosko, Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
The National Youth Transitions Center is an organization focused on the employment of individuals with disabilities. The ceremony commemorated the 20th anniversary of the WRP as a governmentwide program.
The Future Needs Everyone
The event featured remarks from Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management Stephanie Barna. Barna referenced the WRP as a vital pipeline to help DoD build a diverse and mission ready workforce.
“The future needs everyone,” Barna said, referencing the importance of disability employment.
Clarence Johnson, the director of DoD’s Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, reflected on the history of the WRP and current program milestones. In his remarks to the award recipients, Johnson urged them to let the award “serve as a reminder that you have the ability to do amazing work.”
Department of Labor Acting Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy, Ms. Jennifer Sheehy, called upon the award winners to make a difference and help raise others’ expectations of their capabilities. She challenged them to bring their full selves to work every day, especially as leaders.
Under the purview of the Department of Labor, the ODMEO manages DoD participation in the WRP. The WRP has been cited by the Office of Personnel Management as a model strategy for achieving the president’s goals as stated in Executive Order 13548, “Increasing Federal Employment of Individuals with Disabilities.”
The program attracts talented participants with diverse skill sets willing to serve nationwide and around the globe. ODMEO manages DoD participation in the program. DoD has drawn from the WRP for 234 hires so far in the 2015 program year, with more than 80 employees in the Washington, D.C., area. Other WRP hires were placed across 29 states, Puerto Rico, Europe, and as far as the Korean Peninsula.
DoD leverages the talents of WRP employees in a variety of roles including law, medical, engineering, intelligence, and emergency response.
The awards are presented in honor of the late Judith C. Gilliom, who served as DoD’s first director of disability programs and was a founder of the WRP. Gilliom remained a strong advocate for the employment of individuals with disabilities throughout her career in the federal government, beginning at the U.S. Civil Service Commission and concluding at DoD.
Gilliom is represented as an exemplar in the Pentagon’s Defense Career Civilians of Distinction display.