The quarterly Town Hall, held at the WSMR Post Theater, focused on the recent decline of job availabilities for young qualified candidates. WSMR Commander, Maj. Gen. Gwen Bingham and WSMR Executive Director, Paul Mann answered difficult questions from the community during this year’s last quarterly town hall. Dec, 11.
“There is a national security mission out there and White Sands is a big part of that mission,” Mann said.
“We’re actually slaving away trying to figure out how to make it easier for you. The ideas are starting to come forward,” Mann added.
The issue came up when community members began to ask about the availability of jobs for interns who would be coming in. A WSMR employee in the audience expressed his frustration for not being able to hire in his department in over two years.
“The bottom line is we have not replaced talent that has left WSMR for a long time,” Mann said. “We have to anticipate and adapt. The one thing you need to understand is that we’re not in denial about it.”
A group called the Strategic Initiative Group, led by director of Plans and Operations, Greg Devogel, has been created to help address issues like new employment and to help accommodate all parties involved. Currently Devogel said they are working on a STEM partnership between local universities and the range that should allow for an increase of available internships on range.
“We need to find those grinding wheels and try to put some grease on them,” Devogel said.
Along with addressing community concerns, Bingham reserved some time to invite employee assistance providers to talk about the sort of claims that are dealt with on post and to help ensure that the public has the right numbers to call. The ATEC Inspector General, military Equal Employment advisor, civilian Equal Employment Opportunity officer, Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention officer, and Union president each provided a small presentation of what their duties are to help civilians and military members.
“If you cannot get a responsive outcome from your supervisor feel free to give me a call,” Bingham said. “Before you take it off the Installation I would very much appreciate it if we handled it on post.”
Bingham also invited Chris Hennigan, chief of the Fort Bliss, Texas Drug Prevention Team to talk about the dangers of drugs like bath salts, which are extremely dangerous but have currently not been made illegal. Hennigan spoke of two Soldiers who used the drug locally and ended up in the hospital, one in a medically induced coma.
“It’s ugly, it’s nasty, and I would recommend (you) not use it,” Bingham said.
Towards the end of the meeting, Bingham took the time to award several individuals and organizations for their accomplishments in the past quarter. Five civilians were awarded the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, nine civilians were awarded the Achievement Medal for Civilian Service, 41 civilians received a certificate of appreciation, and 40 military members and civilians were awarded with a Star Note. To end the quarterly meeting, Bingham asked the audience if they liked where WSMR was headed and also asked what the community would like to see.
“I just want to make sure we’re responsive to what’s on your mind,” Bingham said.
Installation Employee Assistance Providers numbers:
ATEC IG: 575-678-3902
Military EO: 575-678-5890
Civilian EEO: 575-678-5803
SHARP Hotline: 575-993-0589
Union President: 575-443-0231