Survey projects labor need will grow by more than
York Technical Institute is starting a new program in public safety and security a year ahead of schedule because of a strong need for entry-level workers in those fields, according to institute administrators and homeland security experts.
Based on projections made by the state Department of Labor and Industry in 1998, those two fields are expected to grow by more than 35 percent in Pennsylvania by 2008. Those needs have intensified since the Sept. 11 attacks, said Bryan Einsig, a project manager at York Technical Institute.
York Technical Institute will announce the new program next week at a press conference. The program will provide a broad base of training for people pursuing careers in law enforcement and emergency management.
“Clearly there is a very strong need (for this type of personnel),” said Sheila Borne, assistant director for Pennsylvania’s Office of Homeland Security.
According to Labor and Industry’s projections, police detectives, sheriffs, correctional officers and firefighters will be in high demand in Central Pennsylvania. By 2008, the number of sheriffs is expected to grow by about 42 percent, correctional officers by 40 percent, and police patrol officers by about 32 percent in the south central region, which includes Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lebanon, Perry and York counties. In Lancaster County, the number of correctional officers is expected to increase by 50 percent, police officers by 46 percent and fire inspectors and firefighters by 25 percent.
One reason for such growth is the large number of municipal police departments in Pennsylvania, said Becky Downing, chief of the York county detective bureau. She said that most states have an average of 300 departments, whereas Pennsylvania has 1,200.
“This is going to bring a wealth of qualified candidates into this area,” said Downing, who is on the program’s advisory board.
Einsig said York Technical Institute sought people like Downing and other police and emergency-management employers to make sure the program would serve their needs. The two-year program will prepare people for jobs in 911 emergency operations centers, security, law enforcement, corrections, airport baggage screening and other areas. Students will receive certifications in CPR, defibrillator training, handcuff strategy and technique, and emergency vehicle driving.
Because students also will take classes in emergency dispatch, county dispatch centers will save valuable training time by hiring graduates, said Timothy Baldwin, deputy director of the Lancaster County 911 center and another adviser to the program.
He said dispatch centers tend to go through spurts where they’ll need to hire quickly, and this program will produce candidates who are ready to start right away.
Students must be at least 19 years old, pass a background check with the state police and have a high-school diploma and a valid driver’s license. Graduates will get a diploma, but York Technical Institute is planning to seek associate’s degree status for the program in early 2003.
Einsig, who designed the curriculum, said he and a group of five others at the institute began to develop the program in 1997 and planned to start it next fall. He said the institute decided in January to start the program earlier after seeing a number of empty security and emergency-management positions available.
In mid-August, York Technical Institute will start a print and broadcast advertising campaign to promote the program and careers in public safety. So far, about a dozen people have enrolled, which is enough to start the program. Einsig and others are hoping to reach a maximum of 32 people, so they could start another class in October.