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NEWS | Jan. 26, 2021

Peer2Peer Program aims to create better workplace at Tobyhanna

By Ms. Danielle E. Weinschenk

A new initiative at Tobyhanna Army Depot will create grassroots support for employees experiencing common workplace issues.

The Peer2Peer Proactive Education Program will train employees on how to handle disclosures of harassment, sexual assault, suicidal ideations, substance use and mental health issues. Peers will serve as points of contact for co-workers who wish to discuss an incident or are in need of assistance, connecting co-workers with the appropriate Tobyhanna first responder for intervention and/or assistance.

The program will kick off with a pilot early this spring, and is expected to expand through the calendar year with the goal of having one peer in every work area. Training for the first pilot session will take place in February.

The endeavor is just one part of Tobyhanna’s wide-ranging plans to create a more welcoming, inclusive workplace. The efforts are aligned with the Communication- Electronics Command (CECOM’s) Selflessness-Ownership-Unity-Larger Purpose (SOUL) ideology, championed by CECOM Command Sergeant Major Kristie Brady.

“Selflessness is putting individual needs aside for the greater good of the team.  Ownership is fulfilling your role by knowing your job well and performing it consistently, so that others do not have to do it, and giving 100% all the time.  Unity is having a common understanding and rallying around your mission and vision through open communication and positive conflict resolution.  Larger purpose is contributing to the wider community in a lasting and significant way — our warfighters,” Brady wrote in a November 2020 article.

The peer education program is also directly associated with the depot’s Toby 2028 strategic plan, specifically the Invest in Our People line of effort. Those involved say the initiative will help ensure more resources are available when employees need them.

“Research shows that disclosures of harassment, sexual assault, suicidal ideations, substance use, or mental health issues are often made to colleagues within the workplace, not trained professionals,” said Heather Fiedler, the depot’s organizational development specialist and the overall lead for Toby 2028. “Our goal is to ensure employees always have a trained person to confide in when they are experiencing a personal issue.” Eva Granville, the Employee Services Center chief, agreed.

“I am a huge advocate for peer support programs. In many cases, it’s our coworkers who notice when we are struggling, and it’s a coworker we confide in first. Our Peer2Peer volunteers will be able to compassionately and confidentially respond to a peer in need.”

Although the pilot program is full, depot employees interested in participating in the next iteration can contact Fiedler directly. Supervisory approval is required.

Other initiatives aligned with Tobyhanna’s implementation of SOUL include brown bag lunch sessions designed to destigmatize mental health issues, a continuation of Project Inclusion listening sessions with Depot Sergeant Major Shantae Gordon, and the integration of harassment, sexual assault, suicidal ideation, substance use, and mental health awareness into the comprehensive program for new supervisors.

Tobyhanna Army Depot is a recognized leader in providing world-class logistics support for command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) systems across the Department of Defense. Tobyhanna’s Corporate Philosophy, dedicated work force and electronics expertise ensure the depot is the Joint C5ISR provider of choice for all branches of the Armed Forces and industry partners.

Tobyhanna’s unparalleled capabilities include full-spectrum logistics support for sustainment, overhaul and repair, fabrication and manufacturing, engineering design and development, systems integration, post production software support, technology insertion, modification, foreign military sales and global field support to our joint warfighters.

About 4,000 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania.  Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command.  Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the command’s mission is to empower the Soldier with winning C5ISR capabilities.