Over the next seven years, Northeast Ohio employment projections indicate a critical need for additional numbers of trained protective service personnel.
In particular, fire, police and EMS departments look to increase diversity within their organizations by hiring members of underrepresented groups within these occupations.
Cuyahoga Community College is strengthening partnerships to deliver a well-trained, highly qualified public safety workforce designed to fill these needs across the community.
With a recent $1.4 million grant from the KeyBank Foundation, the newly named KeyBank Public Safety Training Center at Tri-C is enhancing training and outreach for law enforcement, private security, fire, criminal justice, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and other in-demand public safety occupations.
The support of KeyBank also allows the center to expand program and scholarship opportunities, with a focus on increasing the number of underrepresented minorities and women in the industry.
A top training center
The KeyBank Public Safety Training Center, which opened at Tri-C’s Western Campus in 2014, is a state and national leader recognized by peers for producing highly qualified cadets. The center provides public safety training for municipal departments throughout the region. Both Tri-C’s police and fire academies rank in the top five in Ohio, providing services to 12 surrounding counties.
Not only is the center an exciting place, featuring state-of-the-art facilities and specialized training opportunities for police, fire and emergency medical technicians, it features the latest technology and training tools. These include a two-story burn building, an indoor shooting range, a paved area to learn driving techniques and an aboveground trench training area to practice confined-space rescues.
Tri-C’s partnership with KeyBank will emphasize reaching youth to prepare the next generation of leaders for public safety careers. The Public Safety Summer Academy, which took place in June, introduced high school students to career pathways in public safety along with the skills and abilities required to succeed in these positions.
The academy provided a unique opportunity to participate in age-appropriate experiences similar to an actual police academy. The Summer Academy will be leveraged to develop internships for Tri-C students transitioning into public safety programs to promote retention from spring to fall.
For students pursuing careers in public safety, Tri-C offers structured associate degree pathways in criminal justice, fire technology and emergency medical technology in addition to multiple professional certifications.
A summer bridge program will be available to assist students in underrepresented groups transition into their coursework and ultimately succeed in their educational and career goals.
As many current public safety personnel begin to retire, it is critical that we build a pipeline of trained students to fill predicted vacancies.
Building pathways and recruiting youth for future careers in the public safety industry ensures the safety and security of our entire region.
Tri-C is proud to partner with KeyBank and the community on these efforts as we work together to develop the next generation of individuals who will serve and protect our citizens in an ever-changing world. ●
Alex Johnson, Ph.D., is president at Cuyahoga Community College