June 10, 2016 –
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA. ----The Equal Opportunity Leader Course was held at the 63rd Regional Support Command headquarters for the first time in Mountain View, Calif., May 21-26.
The EOLC is established to train appointed leaders to prevent, reduce and eliminate discriminatory practices within the military.
The training applied building-block concepts about race, religion, gender and national origin through promoting equality and awareness to soldiers.
Multiple units under the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC) were notified about the EOLC being held at the 63rd RSC and leapt at the opportunity to enroll.
“Equal opportunity is a proactive measure and not just a reactive measure, it’s a force multiplier and more than complaints, it enhances the moral and trust within commands,” said Patricia Burns, Equal Opportunity Program Manager for the 311th ESC.
The six-day course trained leaders how to create a positive climate and provide advice and assistance to soldiers.
“Some leaders don’t understand the importance of equal opportunity and often subject soldiers to use it to target people or to get someone in trouble,” said Burns. “However, 90% of the complaints generate a valid concern that involves a problem within the command.”
Burns said most leaders understand that the Army has zero tolerance for discrimination and ensures that equal opportunity is enforced through training and national observances.
Sgt. 1st Class Carl Thacker, operations noncommissioned officer, 760th Engineer Company, was identified by his unit to carry out the additional duty as an EOL and wanted to make a positive impact while helping soldiers.
“I volunteered to make a change in my unit because I witnessed a decline in EO matters and cultural awareness,” said Thacker.
During registration, Thacker realized that every leader selected as an EOL had to take a greater responsibility to provide a professional safety zone and fair treatment as well as acknowledging types of EO complaints.
“Learning the differences between informal and formal complaints was beneficial. Throughout the class the instructors allowed us to role play in various scenarios that required us to identify if an EO complaint was formal or informal,” said Thacker.
Soldiers that graduated from the course as EOLs and instructors expressed interest in having another upcoming class at the 63rd RSC in the near future.
“The instructors were skillfully qualified and the 63rd RSC facility provided everything we needed to exceed in the course. We had adequate material and visual aids such as videos to make the class run smoothly,” said Thacker.
Burns explained that having qualified EOLs in the down trace units is imperative.
“We want our soldiers to see more than just where their located and if the 63rd RSC will welcome us back for another EOLC then we would love to offer future training,” she said.