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Where Are The 9-1-1 College Programs?

Author: Sue Pivetta, Professional Pride

Date: 2011-09-02
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Polygraph, Personality Indicator, MMPI, Typing, Video Exam, Observation, Scare Tactics, Personal Essay, Background Check, Surveillance Tapes, Affidavit to stay or pay, Sworn Statement for OT... and we 'still' think we don't have good candidates? Are there great ideas to increase the pool of qualified or experienced candidates for 9-1-1 Jobs? YES! Have you thought about working with your local college?

I was whining that we couldn't find good people to hire at the Comm Center. Someone at the table told me I could find trained people at the college. They train secretaries, firefighters, nail artists, what about 9-1-1? WHAT? No, he didn't understand there was no such thing! "Why not," he asked naively. " Well, because....because we all do it different!" I answered, more naively.

There could be a college pre-employment 9-1-1 course in every community. The programs that are out there offer anywhere from 3 months to one year of training. From a certificate to a degree in Emergency Communications. There are online programs but of course the most effective way to learn is hands on at the college with a professional from the field. What does it take to get one started?

"I want to answer 9-1-1!". Face it, it's an intriguing profession, but people aren't really sure what is involved.  How do you give them what they need the most (hint: EXPERIENCE).

Simulation is how public safety training programs give people the experience of the work. We are all familiar with the target range, burn houses, Resus-a-Annie. We allow our professionals to 'practice', or do we? Call Taking and Radio Dispatch training can be practiced!

There is no magic key. Every workplace hires people who eventually don't fit, get fired, can't do the work. The hiring process is by nature a PREDICTION. Our industry has had more than its share of new hire turnover. Still, there is no magic evaluation that will 'pop out' the perfect candidate. There are however, many programs and processes that linked together can help the right person for the job EMERGE - not magically - but naturally the way it has been done for 1000s of careers. And that way is to spend your time and your dime to learn a trade in college!

Sue Pivetta is president of Professional Pride, Inc.   She has worked in emergency communications since 1989 as a college instructor, consultant, workshop leader and author.   She teaches adult learning through her book and workshop The Exceptional Trainer.  The preceeding originally appeared in Sue's monthly newsletter.

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