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An Interview with Flynn Rosko

October is National Employment Disability Awareness Month (NDEAM), which highlights the importance of workplace inclusion for individuals with disabilities, and celebrates the contributions they make to the workforce. During this month, the Department of Defense Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity hosts the Annual Secretary of Defense Awards Ceremony to honor components, military departments, Service members and civilians with disabilities for their outstanding contributions supporting the Department of Defense mission. 

CAP was able to talk with Flynn Rosko, a 2017 Secretary of Defense Award Recipient, prior to the ceremony.

CAP: How does it feel to be an honoree of the Department of Defense Disability Awards?
Flynn: I am genuinely honored to get this award from the Department of Defense. This is important to me because it is not only an award but motivation and encouragement for me to continue to work hard to support the mission of my agency and the DoD in the future.

CAP: How has accessibility and inclusion advanced since you first began working in the Federal Government?
Flynn: Actually, the accessibility and inclusion has not only advanced in the government, but in this country as a whole. Of course because of that, now the people of our country have a better understanding of the importance of accessibility and inclusion. It has produced a positive impact in the Federal Government workforce. I am able to work with minimal to zero barriers. I believe that it will continue to get better every day, especially with the technology improving rapidly.

CAP: How did participating in the Workforce Recruitment Program prepare you for employment in the Federal Government?
Flynn: My experience in WRP has definitely helped me to prepare for my career in the Federal Government. It gave me the opportunity to learn many different tasks and experience several different roles within my department. Those experiences has empowered me and helped me prepare for my career in the Federal Government.

CAP: In what ways did you assist with the integration of section 508 compliance within your agency?
Flynn: I have assisted with the integration of Section 508 compliance within my agency in multiple ways. I set up a Section 508 resource center, which is a web page dedicated to Section 508 on the Intranet. This place contains information regarding Section 508, including the law, training, contacts, tips, guidance, etc. I’ve also implemented procedures to get all of our videos captioned for our user community. I provide tools, resources, and support to our personnel regarding Section 508 on a daily basis. I’ve also brought in video phone capability with access to Video Relay Interpreters for our deaf and hard of hearing employees. Before, they did not have access to telephonic communication, meaning they could not participate in video conferences, telephone calls, and immediate face to face communications.

CAP: What were some of the advancements resulted from the integration of section 508 compliance within your agency?
Flynn: The advancement that resulted from the integration of Section 508 compliance within my agency is that we have saved money and time using CAP’s captioning service rather than paying out of our budget. Deaf and hard of hearing employees are now able to use Video Remote Interpreters (VRI), this has saved agency’s money on actual Sign Language Interpreters when we need to use VRI for a brief face-to-face communication. Also, the Section 508 webpage/resource center has helped our developers find guidance to develop 508 compliant electronic materials.

CAP: What advice would you give to an individual with a disability who has an interest in working in the Information Technology field?
Flynn: The advice that I would give to an individual with a disability who has an interest in working in the IT field, would be to continue to seek training, certification, and always stay up-to-date on current technology because the technology advancement is moving rapidly these days. And, to always push yourself to try, learn and master more than one thing in that field.

The ceremony was held on Thursday, October 5th, 2017 in the Pentagon Auditorium. Mr. Anthony M. Kurta, who is currently performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, provided the opening remarks while Mr. Dan Nevins of the Wounded Warrior Project delivered the keynote address.

2017 Secretary of Defense Award Recipients (Components and Military Departments):

Best Military Department
Department of the Navy

Best Mid-Sized Component
Defense Logistics Agency

Best Achievements in Ensuring Accessible Information and Communication Technology in the Workplace
National Security Agency

2017 Secretary of Defense Award Recipients (Service members and Civilians):

Ray Bourgeois
Navy Facilities Engineering Command

Kelly Thomas
Naval Supply Systems Command

Staff Sergeant David P. Doty
United States Marine Corps

Tina Keimig
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Jason G. Moore
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Jeffrey Greer
U.S. Army Installation Management Command

Master Sergeant Alex J. Eudy
United States Air Force

Gregory Carter
United States Air Force

Thomas Comeans
Defense Logistics Agency

Diane Mezzanotte
National Security Agency

Flynn Rosko
Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Jennifer Perry
Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Matthew K. Stone, Ph.D.
Defense Intelligence Agency

Kaisa Wilson
Defense Contract Management Agency

Angela Battistone-Potosky
Defense Finance and Accounting Service

James D. Marlowe
Missile Defense Agency

Christy Bowers
Washington Headquarters Services

Summer C. Kozai
Defense Contract Audit Agency

Cindy M. Templeton
Department of Defense Education Activity

Eric Andrew Poulin
Army and Air Force Exchange Service

Dolan Garr
Defense Commissary Agency

Headshot of Flynn Rosko