LOS ANGELES — Two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District leaders met with community members, military partners, educators and local elected leaders March 7 at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in downtown LA for the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Los Angeles’ Community Partners Meeting.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Beeman, LA District deputy commander, joined Funke Ojuri, the chief of the LA District’s Design Branch, to attend the event as part of the Corps’ effort to better reach potential recruits and future employees, and to strengthen alliances with agencies, such as the Army Recruiting Command, Army Cadet Command, U.S. Army Recruiting Los Angeles and the LA Strategic Officer Recruiting Detachment in that endeavor.
“If we can team up even more with them, we can also spread our message about the Army Corps — letting people know that the Army Corps is an option, both for those in uniform and those who want to serve their country as Department of the Army civilians,” Beeman said.
The keynote speaker at the event was Gen. Gary Brito, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, which is headquartered at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Brito is responsible for developing, managing and executing manpower and personnel plans, programs and policies for the entire Army.
Brito, who spent the week in California meeting with a wide range of fellow leaders, educators, students, recruits, Soldiers and other professionals, started his visit in LA to share what opportunities the Army offers.
“I’m proud and humbled to have benefited from these opportunities,” Brito said. “I went through ROTC, as many have, and I was one of those young men, who didn’t know what he wanted to do initially. I came from a blue-collar family, on a good day, as are many in this community and others. If you underscore that, it talks to the equity and inclusivity that the Army has. Notice I didn’t say any specific demographic — it’s an opportunity for all.”
Also speaking at the event was Patrick Baker, director of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory. Much like the Corps, ARL offers career pathways and internships for recent college graduates specializing in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics domains.
“I was a kid in Baltimore where you’d basically follow your parents who were working at the plant, but because someone suggested I do an internship with the Army, I’ve now seen 11 different countries, I’ve had the opportunity to work all over this country with great industrial partners, academic partners, and Soldiers and civilians to take science and put it out into the field and actually save lives and deter our adversaries.
“That was an opportunity for me 39 years ago,” he added. “Now there are many, many more opportunities in the Army.”
The same is true of the Corps and its LA District, Beeman said, adding there’s no shortage of ways subject-matter experts throughout the district can engage with the community to spread the word to future U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ professionals about these opportunities.
“We can participate in high school and college STEM events; provide tours of some of our large dam projects, like Sepulveda, Prado and Whittier Narrows dams; large construction projects, like the $140-million VA Long Beach hospital project; and the ports and harbors, where we do dredging, from San Diego all the way to Morrow Bay,” Beeman said. “There are a lot of areas where we can help each other — they can assist with access to high schools and colleges, and we can assist with promoting STEM by making our Corps’ facilities, lands and properties accessible to them as well.”
In the last year, Beeman and other members of the LA District have performed outreach, including visiting with ROTC cadets at Cal Poly Pomona, speaking with students at Southeast Academy High School in Norwalk, California, and attending events, such as the American Indian Science and Engineering Society Conference in Phoenix and the Great Minds in STEM conference in Pasadena, California.
“There are so many pipelines of talented candidates in LA,” Beeman said, “and I am starting to feel some serious momentum in better establishing those ties to increase awareness of the Los Angeles District as an employer of choice.”