Kathy Francis, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Emergency Management (MACEM) had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion at the 19th Annual Emergency Management Higher Education Symposium regarding “Education as Part of a Broader National Preparedness System.”  Kathy’s insight is shared in the first of four installments.

Question 1. Share your experiences regarding some of your most productive, specific outreach partners, and include the beneficial resources you brought to the table.

I greatly value outreach and partnerships, and in 2010, the Mid-Atlantic Center for Emergency Management (MACEM) was built upon a long-standing cooperative agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Independent Study Program. Our outreach or service contains three main components: collaboration, connection, and commitment. One example of an outstanding partnership is with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). The MACEM serves as the Post-Secondary Affiliate to MSDE and its Career and Technology Education Branch in the program pathway of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. The pathway includes three strands: Homeland Security, Administration of Justice, and Communications and Information Technology. Through this collaborative relationship, the MACEM provides subject matter expertise to develop, refine, and ensure robust and innovative curricula meeting the demands of the workforce today.

Using a Summer Institute, an Advanced Institute, and webinars, the MACEM also prepares Maryland’s high school teachers to learn best practices, issues of professional concern, and current trends in the field. We facilitate experiences for the teachers to learn about the most current technologies and skill sets needed in the workplace by making the in-person connections directly from local, state, and federal industry experts, and many times connections to each other as academic colleagues from secondary education to higher education.

An important part of partnerships is commitment to the partnership. We are committed to develop a future of thriving, high-profile public safety leaders and believe it is important to begin this educational process in secondary schools. We engage in discussions about critical national safety and quality of life topics and incorporate activities to explore past national and international disasters through case studies to spark creative thinking, collaboration, and resource building.

We bring this same level of collaboration, connection, and commitment to all our partnerships and value the cooperative training partnership with the National Training and Education Division (NTED). Through this partnership, we have been able to develop and deliver specialty emergency management courseware in online and workshop formats. Our most recent course addresses Public-Private Partnerships: Expanding Collaboration, Engagement, and Resilience. This content is offered nationwide in all 10 FEMA regions.

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