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YARS hosts Diversity and Inclusion program manager’s training

  • Published
  • By Eric M. White
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Youngstown Air Reserve Station hosted an Air Force Reserve Command Diversity and Inclusion program manager’s training March 4–5, 2021, the first such training in 18 months due to COVID-19.

The Air Force Reserve Command’s Diversity and Inclusion program began as the Human Resource Development Council in the early 1990s, but began transitioning to the Diversity and Inclusion program in 2014 in order to shift the program’s emphasis. In recent years, under the direction of Air Force Reserve Command Commander Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, AFRC has placed a heavy focus on the program. 

G. Lee Floyd is the chief of AFRC’s Diversity and Inclusion branch, and came to YARS to facilitate the two-day training. His job entails developing and interpreting policies and guidelines to help the command institute and execute diversity initiatives. 

“The reason we’re here now is that the Air Force Reserve commander mandated that every vice commander from all of our wings undergo a two-day diversity program manager’s training,” said Floyd. “We have really nice participation. Folks are here from California, the Carolinas, Florida, from all over the country, from all of our wings for this training.”

The training, formatted as an interactive workshop, is designed to give new, wing-level Diversity and Inclusion team members the tools they need to execute their duties. It includes sessions on diversity awareness, cross-cultural communication, unconscious bias awareness and program responsibilities. 

Floyd said the first day of the training is called awareness day.

“It’s designed to force them to take a good look at themselves to try and understand the role they play in the communication, interaction, the involvement in the area of Diversity and Inclusion back at their wings,” said Floyd. “So if they don’t understand their culpability, then it’s going to be hard for them to convey to the masses what their issues may be as well.”

The second day of the workshop focuses on program implementation at the students’ home installations. It provides the students with lesson plans, training material and experience working through diversity and inclusion scenarios.  

Staff Sgt. Aurelia Hill, one of the students, is the non-commissioned officer in charge of career development with the 926nd Force Support Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. She learned about ways to get involved with the D&I program when Floyd spoke at her base. Her supervisor encouraged her to get involved. When her installation’s vice commander asked for people who were interested in the D&I council on her base, she signed up and joined the outreach team. 

“I uncovered, it’s not that I have bias, but there are certainly different aspects that I need more work in,” said Hill, “and I think that being part of the D&I council is going to open my eyes a little bit better.”

Hill looks forward to bringing the information and awareness gained at the training back to Nellis AFB to help develop a diverse force that welcomes and values the contributions of every Airman. 

Citing the findings of a recent independent report on racial disparity in the Air Force, Floyd outlines some areas that illustrate the need for a proactive D&I program. He has a clear idea of what success for the program would look like across the force. 

“We’re going to know when we become successful when diversity and inclusion become ingrained into the fiber of everything we do,” said Floyd. “Every aspect of every decision, everything that we do as far as mission accomplishment, is going to have an element of diversity and inclusion in it, and we’re not gonna have to think about it, it’s gonna become second nature, it’s going to become a way of life. That’s when we’re going to know how successful we’ve been.”