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  FMCS Contracts with U.S. Forest Service to Provide Mediation Training

As part of its ongoing efforts to encourage early intervention mediation services, the U.S. Forest Service (FS) has contracted with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to provide mediation training for employees selected to serve as peer mediators in non-EEO workplace situations.

With a goal of establishing a cadre of FS mediators that can be called upon to provide early-level mediation services, FMCS mediators recently led training sessions at three FS locations; Atlanta, Ga., Milwaukee,Wis., and San Juan, P.R. The focus of each week-long training session was on alternative dispute resolution skills and providing FS trainees with foundational knowledge of the core requirements of mediation services for federal workplace issues.

Director of Mediation Services Sergio Delgado assigned Commissioner Sue Putman of the Orlando field office to lead the project. Working with the Office of Education and Training, Sue adapted the FMCS Institute mediation course to meet the needs of the FS trainees. In cooperation with FMCS Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh, and Directors of Mediation Services Tom Summers and Jack Sweeney, additional mediators were brought on to the project to rotate leading the training sessions.

Commissioner Putman led the Atlanta training (Feb. 25- March 1), with assistance from Commissioners Javier Ramirez, Tammy Poole and Jim Leaphart. Sue and Javier also teamed to lead the Milwaukee training (March 25-29) with support from Commissioners Doug Drake and Dan Hilbert for role playing scenarios. Javier and Commissioner David Thaler led the San Juan training sessions (April 8-12) with support from Steven Dickerson of the U.S. Forest Service.

The training program was very well received by participants. According to Director of Mediation Services Sergio Delgado, a project such as this week-long training by mediators can, quite frankly, be a major undertaking.
“One can easily overlook the great deal of preparation and collaboration that needs to go into the training way before a mediator steps in front of a group. Doing this not once, not twice, but three times in a 45-day period while still maintaining a full case load, is a testament to the dedication this team of mediators has had in making sure this project was a complete success. I commend all the mediators involved and cannot thank them enough for a job well done!”

Commissioner Javier Ramirez leads the training session.