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EOD Training Unit Earns Sloan Award for Two Consecutive Years

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120302-21

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Johnny I. Michael, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (NNS) -- Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Training and Evaluation Unit (EODTEU) 2 earned their second consecutive Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility Feb. 7.

Alfred P. Sloan was an accomplished American businessman and author who pioneered the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which devotes its resources to education in economics and business. The award recognizes the top 20 percent of public and private sector organizations based on their workplace flexibility programs, policies and cultures.

EODTEU2 completed a detailed two-part survey on their workplace flexibility practices, revealing results exceeding the national benchmark, confirming not only that the Sloan awardees put their employees first, but that their employees agree.

"This command has been selected twice for this award because of the leadership's focus placed on its Sailor's needs," said Cmdr. Leonard Lyon, commanding officer of EODTEU2.

Like many core Navy missions, EOD and Navy diving operations require a force with specialized skill sets. Once trained, these organizations must become more adaptive to their Sailor's needs to ensure retention.

"The innovation that we have here is driven by our circumstance of having some of the best, most highly qualified people in the Navy," said Lyon. "The Navy spends a substantial amount of money on training Navy EOD and salvage diver Sailors - so, if you're going to invest that much money, from a business perspective, you want to get the return on that."

EODTEU2 provides sophisticated pre-deployment training packages to East Coast-based EOD platoons and mobile diving and salvage companies. The unit conducts training more than 300 days a year - day or night - including holidays and weekends.

According to Lyon, EOD and Salvage Diver Sailors typically spend up to five years at a mobile or dive unit, cycling through multiple deployments, and this command is their shore duty. To better serve its Sailors, EODTEU2 provides flexible work hours and more accommodating education opportunities.

EODTEU2 implemented a program in partnership with St. Leo University in 2009 to bring the campus to the command, better supporting their Sailor's opportunities to participate in a traditional college program that works with their unpredictable working hours. St. Leo University sends professors to the unit similar to a traditional college semester schedule. So far, 11 college courses have been conducted at the command.

"It's great to encourage your Sailors to go get their college degree, but it's completely different if you give them the opportunity to attend class in their own building," said Lyon. "During their three-year tour here they can work on their degree."

"It's great, really," said Engineman 2nd Class Jason Gaines, who has been assigned to EODTEU2 since 2009. "When I first got here I had planned on going to school and I heard they were about to start this program so I just hopped on board and ran with it. It's real convenient - right when you get off of work you can just head down the hall."

A total of 27 students have enrolled and completed courses through the program, including four service members from outside the command and a dependent civilian.

"Sailors like to know that they can be part of something that's bigger than themselves", said William McReynolds, the learning standards officer at EODTEU2. "The St. Leo University partnership program with the command has really empowered Sailors with a chance to excel in their careers and in their personal development."

In addition to maintaining an efficient workplace, and furthering education, EOD Sailors and Navy Divers perform their hazardous work in the most dangerous places in the world. The EOD combat force is continually deployed to counter explosive hazards including IEDs, weapons of mass destruction, underwater mines and all other types of weaponry. Navy sivers, part of mobile diving and salvage units, provide combat ready, and rapidly deployable mobile diving and salvage teams to conduct harbor clearance, salvage, underwater search and recovery, and underwater emergency repairs in any environment.

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