MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Sailors looking to enhance their career by working outside their rate should consider becoming an Equal Opportunity Advisor (EOA), Navy leaders said May 22.
"Equal opportunity advisors play a vital role in the Navy's ability to maintain operational readiness and accomplish its mission," said Senior Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) Mark Vandervort, EOA detailer, Navy Personnel Command (NPC).
According to MILPERSMAN 1306-917, EOAs can stimulate a free-flow of communication at all levels within a chain of command, making them an invaluable asset to the Navy.
Vandervort says EOAs are command climate experts who strengthen a chain of command by keeping leadership aware of any equal opportunity related issues as well as procedures and practices that may affect the mission, readiness, welfare and morale of Sailors.
"Those commands that can capitalize on their Sailor's skill sets are those that perform the best," said Vandervort. "As the command climate expert, it is the EOA's responsibility to assess the command climate and determine not only what is working right within a command, but also identify potential barriers that may prohibit Sailors from achieving their full potential."
Sailors in pay grades E-6 to E-9 may be eligible to apply for EOA duty after being interviewed by an EOA.
To become an EOA, Sailors must earn the 9515 Equal Opportunity Advisor Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) by attending the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Fla.
"The EOA course is intense but rewarding," said Vandervort. "The training not only provides students with the tools required to be an EOA, but also provides them with a variety of tools that will allow them to grow as leaders."
The 12-week EOA course provides training in gender communications and cultural awareness, socialization, conflict management, complaints processing, interpersonal communications, and many other topics.
"EOAs ensure Sailors are being treated fairly and with the dignity and respect with which all Sailors should expect to be treated. When utilized correctly, the EOA can be an integral member of the command's leadership team," said Vandervort.
EOAs are assigned to major shore commands, nuclear aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships and training commands.
A complete listing of eligibility requirements can be found in MILPERSMAN 1306-917. Sailors who meet the requirements and would like to apply for EOA duty should request release to Special Programs by submitting a completed NAVPERS 1306/7 to their rating detailer prior to entering their normal detailing window.
The required obligated service for an EOA tour is 36 months, and members selected are required to complete two full consecutive EOA tours, one sea and one shore.
Special Program detailers assign Sailors to more than 20 special programs Navy-wide, including Recruit Division Commander duty and recruiting duty, service on the USS Constitution or the USS Arizona Memorial, and assignment to the Blue Angels or the Navy Ceremonial Guard. MILPERSMAN 1306-900 contains a complete list of special programs available.
For more information, visit the EOA Web Page on the NPC website at www.npc.navy.mil/ENLISTED/DETAILING/SHORESPECIALPROGRAMS/Pages/EOASARPNAVLEAD.aspx
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For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.