By Danielle Davis, Bayonet & Saber /
When individuals from the Fort Benning community or any other community issue complaints, they’re assigned a counselor. In order to assist those individuals, counselors must have certain training, said Pamela Allen, Fort Benning’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office manager.
In order to comply with this, the EEO Office conducted an EEO Counselors Certification Course July 11-15 in McGinnis Wickam Hall.
Karen Matagi, the compliance and complaints manager at Joint Base San Antonio’s Headquarters, Installation Management Command, and Kevin Morgan, an EEO specialist out of Fort Lee, Virginia, assisted Allen with the training. Matagi and Morgan each serve as Department of the Army certified trainers.
Counselors listened to lectures, participated in large and small group interactions and completed individual exercises to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to be an effective counselor, explained Allen.
“During the training, we talked to them about the rules and regulations, the laws governing the EEO and interview techniques,” said Matagi.
Title VII laws are at the core of the EEO. They originated from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, added Allen.
There were 23 individuals who completed the training. Of those 23, 22 were from Fort Benning and one was from Aberdeen, Maryland.
Individuals had to volunteer or be nominated in order to participate in the training. There were individuals from the Directorate of Human Resources, Martin Army Community Hospital and Logistics Readiness Command to name a few, said Allen.
Dorrie Wagner, the DFMWR Youth Sports Director, said that there was so much she didn’t know. Now that she’s taken the course she knows what her rights are and understands the process that EEO goes through with individuals.
If given the opportunity, Wagner encourages individuals to take the training course. As a counselor, Wagner hopes to help anyone who’s been discriminated against.
“I want them to get fair and just treatment,” she said.
Morgan said that while teaching the course he learned that a lot of the issues going on in various workplaces are universal.
If the people who work in an organization are well informed and content with the way things are in-house, then the focus can be on the needs of the individuals who they help, he said, emphasizing how the training can improve EEO counselors’ morale.
As part of the training, each of the individuals had to take a pre-exam to assess their knowledge and a post exam. Everyone passed the post exam to become counselors.
For more information about the EEO, call 706-545-1872 or visit their office in Building 6, Room 121.