PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) will offer a Homeland Security degree beginning this fall. The associate’s degree and a related certificate program will train public safety professionals in a wide range of emergency scenarios in a post-9/11 world.
“CCAC is committed to developing homeland security professionals for the local region and nationally,” said Alex Johnson, CCAC president. “These programs will address the need for specific homeland security credentials for existing personnel as well as replacing retirees from a graying workforce in federal, state and local emergency management agencies.”
There are more than 30,000 emergency service providers in the Region 13 area, which covers 13 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. Last year, the Region 13 Counter-Terrorism Task Force circulated a letter of understanding on collaboration for education and training that was signed by CCAC and other colleges in the region. Since then, the task force has created a regional network in which community colleges will offer access to courses culminating in a Homeland Security certificate or associate’s degree.
“Graduates of this program may seek employment as homeland security professionals in various fields, including border, airport and seaport security as well as intelligence, technology security and disaster or emergency response,” said Jill Oblak, director of CCAC’s Public Safety Institute.
CCAC’s associate’s degree comprises 61 to 63 credits and will take two years full-time. The certificate is 22 credits over two semesters. Both will be offered as part of the Criminal Justice departments at Allegheny (North Shore), Boyce and South (West Mifflin) campuses.
“These courses may be of particular interest to local public safety personnel looking to advance their careers,” said Gregory Joyce, associate professor of Criminal Justice at CCAC–Boyce campus in Monroeville. “They will also appeal to local fire and police departments seeking to better prepare their staffs for unforeseen events and circumstances—not just terrorism but also floods, snowstorms and other weather emergencies.”
CCAC’s curriculum was developed in collaboration with the Region 13 Homeland Security Initiative representing local, state and federal emergency responders as well as the Pittsburgh Regional Business Coalition for Homeland Security, which consists of approximately 50 employers including the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Verizon, PNC Bank, Westinghouse Electric Company and NOVA Chemicals.
Pittsburgh is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Tier II city, one of 53 cities that receive special funding to purchase specialized equipment for emergency responders and enhance regional emergency preparedness, response and recovery capabilities.
These capabilities include interoperable communications, urban search and rescue, onsite incident management, hazardous materials response and decontamination, medical surge, community and citizen preparedness, emergency public information and warning, explosive device response and critical infrastructure protection planning.
For more information about the homeland security program at CCAC, contact the CCAC Public Safety Institute at 412.237.2500.
The Community College of Allegheny County is the largest institution of postsecondary higher education in Pennsylvania. The college serves 30,000 credit students through 170 degree and certificate programs and offers thousands of lifelong learning non-credit and workforce development courses to 35,000 students annually. Incorporating a learning-centered environment committed to the future of the region, CCAC continues to expand its reach through innovative programming and accessible instruction offered via convenient day, evening, weekend and online courses. With four campuses and six centers serving Allegheny County and surrounding communities, CCAC endeavors to fulfill its mission to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society.