by Jay Townsend
Dyron Jolly serves as a human resource specialist in the Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Dallas, Texas, a position he’s held since May 2008. In this position, he is responsible for assisting the director of human resources in establishing and managing a comprehensive civilian human resources program and providing staff advisory and consultant services to the division commander, district commanders, subordinate district offices and all organizational elements.
Jolly assists in providing overall policy direction, oversight, and program evaluation of the administrative and technical aspects of human resource disciplines in the division and subordinate district offices.
Shortly after graduating from Alabama A&M with a degree in business marketing, Jolly was accepted into the Army Material Command Fellows Program in 2006, a five year program that allows candidates the opportunity to earn a Master’s in Business Administration from Texas A&M University, Texarkana in the first year of the program. Following the completion of a masters, the program is designed for “fellows” to rotate through on-the-job training assignments and make significant career advancements.
“The program grooms you to be a leader in the civilian workforce,” said Jolly. “You learn to be very multifaceted and get introduced to a large network of federal government professionals.”
After completing the fellows program consisting of numerous developmental assignments in HR, Jolly was selected for his current position, a position he says is his favorite.
“This position gives me a lot of flexibility and allows me to be creative when it comes to engaging the workforce and managing human resources,” Jolly said. “Furthermore, I have been able to take developmental opportunities at other Army organization to help further my career development.”
Growing up, Jolly was always inspired by the drive in his parents and their entrepreneurial spirit. However, in their quest to be prosperous entrepreneurs, he observed some hurdles his parents had to overcome to be successful in a southern Alabama town.
“There were times as business owners that my parents didn’t receive support because of the color of their skin,” Jolly said.
After watching this he knew he needed to get an education to level the playing field.
“My parents were entrepreneurs that had great ideas and products, but assumed a lot of business risk due to lack of knowledge in various aspects of business, marketing in particular,” Jolly said.
His desire to be creative and to pursue a business marketing degree comes from his parents and some of the challenges they faced.
“There is no doubt if I wanted to honor my parent’s hard work and sacrifices that I had to do whatever it took to get a higher education,” Jolly said.
The 2017 Black History Month theme is “The Crisis in Black Education.” Growing up Jolly was fortunate to go to good schools; however, like many others growing up in the south, he experienced some challenges and biases that have had an impact on minorities.
According to Jolly, one bias in particular is the use of standardized tests. He believes the use of standardized tests has it benefits, but that how and who develops the tests are important for ensuring equality.
“Often times, these tests are written and structured in ways that some disadvantaged kids tend to struggle with,” Jolly said. “While not making excuses for students who lack the desire to do well, scores on these tests don’t always reflect the capabilities of disadvantaged students or their intellect.”
He also said standardized test should be written in a manner that captures various learning styles because we are all different and learn in different ways.
“Standardized tests aren’t written for everyone. I went to a good school and remember not understanding what some questions on the test were really asking because of terms I may not have been familiar with,” Jolly said. “We rely on standardized tests too much.”
He joins many that believe the opportunity gap leads to an achievement gap. On the other hand, he said struggles in education are only a product of deeper issues that exist.
“Sure standardized tests, lack of resources, and other things contribute to education challenges; however, one of the main problems is lack of strong families in the black community. Many grow up in broken homes, where they see their mom (the majority of the time) struggling to make ends meet. Some don’t know their father, others know their father but he is not very active. The majority of these kids are faced with dealing with situations and responsibilities that were never intended for a child to bear. How could they truly focus on school when being faced with circumstances that many grown-ups find difficult to face themselves? Couple this issue with schools that lack resources and a minimum number of teachers who care, you end up with a crisis. If you want to fix the crisis on education in the black community, figure out what happened to the black family. We need to fix the family, the rest will follow, including education,” Jolly said.