A woman dedicated to supporting the Civilian workforce has been recognized for going beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety and well-being of Fort Drum Civilians and Soldiers alike.
Equal Employment Opportunity complaints manager Angela Jones was recognized July 8 by Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter, commanding general of Installation Management Command, for her efforts resulting in uninterrupted Sexual Harassment / Assault Response and Prevention training to the entire IMCOM Civilian workforce on Fort Drum.
While simultaneously performing her regular duties of processing formal complaints for the EEO office, Jones volunteered to serve as the primary SHARP trainer for Fort Drum.
Implemented in 2011, SHARP is a comprehensive new approach to reinforcing the Army’s commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual harassment and assault. The program expands upon the training previously provided to Soldiers through the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program, and to Civilians via the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) program.
At the program’s inception, there were no SHARP representatives immediately available. These new positions needed to be filled, and representatives needed ample time to be trained for their new positions.
“Because I had taught POSH for a good amount of time and I was doing the most recent training, it kind of made sense, at least for the Civilian population, for me to pick it up,” Jones said.
While Prevention of Sexual Harassment was already a key component of EEO training, Jones said the sexual assault portion of SHARP was new to her. To learn about this element, Jones volunteered to take an 80-hour Mobile Training Team course.
“I was a Soldier at one point, so I had some familiarity with the old way of addres-sing sexual harassment and sexual assault,” Jones said. “As opposed to going to EEO specifically for those kinds of issues, now there (is) a specific program in place to identify and address those kinds of problems within organizations or units.”
As the only Civilian enrolled in this particular MTT course, Jones said she was thankful for the opportunity to see things from the perspective of current Soldiers. Her experience working for EEO also made her a valuable source of information to Soldiers attending the training.
“I enjoyed the fact that I was able to impart some knowledge to the Soldiers about the Civilian side of things,” Jones said. “It was an opportunity to share what I knew about the Civilian side of the house and how different that was from the military piece.”
At the start, the SHARP program here on Fort Drum was largely focused on the Soldier population.
“The initial, immediate concern was for the Soldiers, because that’s generally where we see most of the assaults, at least on Fort Drum,” Jones said.
Now, Jones said, the training is being closely scrutinized to determine what information Civilians need to protect themselves and to ensure the safety and well-being of the Soldiers they encounter on a daily basis.
One of the challenges of giving the training to Civilian employees was determining how to present the most applicable information from the SHARP training in a concise and understandable manner, Jones said.
The training materials provided, including slideshows, were very military-driven. Collaborating with Army Community Service subject experts and her fellow EEO employees, Jones worked to modify the presentation of the material to better suit the Civilian population.
“We sat down and dissected all of those slides to make sure that as we presented information we presented it in a way that the Civilians understood what their goal is within SHARP,” Jones said.
“Though it might not seem applicable to the Civilians at first, we all work together,” Jones continued. “The person that sits across from you is important whether you see them for five minutes or every day. It’s our job as human beings to look out for one another, whether it’s at your job or while you’re out in the community.”
Much of the information presented by way of the SHARP program has not changed from previous inceptions of sexual harassment and assault training. What has changed is the process for handling complaints and securing treatment and representation for victims.
“It has changed in the sense that there are more resources and even more support is available,” Jones said.
While Civilian employees may continue to seek support from EEO, each unit and organization now has a designated SHARP representative.
These individuals are available to support Soldiers and Civilians alike.
While Jones has devoted countless hours to providing SHARP training to the Civilian workforce, she is ready to hand the reins over to Fort Drum’s SHARP representatives.
“We’ve pretty much handed off the training to the SHARP folks who are on board now,” Jones said.
“They seem ready to jump in with both feet,” she added. “We will still continue to support those individuals, but they are ready, and they have the time and the focus to really make the program grow and succeed.”