News | April 1, 2019

DLA, Gallaudet University sign historic partnership agreement

By Chris Erbe

Defense Logistics Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams and Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano signed a memorandum of understanding to promote greater opportunities for qualified future graduates of the university to obtain full-time employment with DLA. The event took place in the historic Chapel Hall at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., March 25.

Gallaudet University is a leading institution of learning, teaching and research for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. Its original charter was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864. The school is known for recognizing and promoting American Sign Language and for its pioneering efforts to remove barriers that prevent individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing from fully participating in society.

After signing his greeting in ASL, Williams said, “This agreement is an extension of our agency’s commitment to expand employment opportunities for differently-abled members of the community. It will increase outreach and awareness activities to this phenomenal pipeline of talent.”

DLA employs 118 individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing across its global enterprise. Seventeen of those graduated from Gallaudet University, and eight attended the ceremony. Williams said these employees hold positions in finance, contracting, procurement, inventory management and more.

“I can assure you they come to work every day performing at a very high level and are valued contributors to our mission,” he said.

Many of DLA’s employees with disabilities join the agency through the federal government’s Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities. The program increases opportunities for college students and recent graduates with disabilities to become full-time federal employees. DLA is the second largest WRP employer in the federal government. 

Williams told the audience he hopes the agreement will set a precedent and intends to continue to reach out and establish new partnerships with key institutions of higher learning. He reiterated DLA’s commitment to keeping lines of communication open and strengthening connections to Gallaudet University.

“It’s important because diversity and inclusion are vital to the mission of our agency,” he said. “In a highly competitive, technological and rapidly changing world, we cannot be successful without a diverse, skilled and talented workforce.”