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Published 10/27/2004

Area Academic Institutions to Discuss Emergency Response and Homeland Security Training Initiatives, Oct. 28

Area two- and four-year academic institutions will gather at Owens Community College to discuss heightening the Midwest's educational opportunities within emergency training as part of the first-ever Great Lakes Educational Consortium for Homeland Security Training meeting on Thursday, October 28.

The introductory Great Lakes Educational Consortium for Homeland Security Training meeting will occur from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. in the College's Audio/Visual Classroom Center Rooms 125-128 on the Toledo-area Campus. Owens is located on Oregon Road, four miles from downtown Toledo.

Established by Owens Community College and The University of Findlay, the Great Lakes Educational Consortium for Homeland Security Training's primary mission is to promote, support and enhance emergency response training through collaboration among academic institutions engaging in first responder and homeland security initiatives. Each participating member college and university is dedicated to elevating the Midwest's level of preparedness for safety forces through the continued advancement and creation of integrated academic programs, which incorporate the latest in emergency training.

"Providing area police, fire and emergency services personnel with the highest level in real-world, scenario training plays a critical role in ensuring our nation's safety and protection," said Dr. Paul Unger, Provost of Owens Community College. "This consortium serves as a catalyst in strengthening our educational efforts and cultivating new partnerships and homeland security programs with colleges and universities throughout the Midwest. Our focus is on fostering collaboration and educational innovation, ensuring that Ohio's first responders receive the highest level in emergency training."

Beginning at 9 a.m., William F. Vedra Jr., Deputy Director in the Office of Domestic Preparedness for Ohio Homeland Security will address the consortium and provide an overview about the state of homeland security within Ohio.

Discussion topics highlighted at the meeting will focus on emergency response and homeland security initiatives related to degree programs, faculty expertise and experience, equipment, facilities, types of training offered, organizational mission and purpose, and opportunities for collaboration.

Educational institutions currently comprising the consortium include Owens Community College, The University of Findlay, Bowling Green State University, Lorain County Community College, Lourdes College, Medical College of Ohio, Northwest State Community College, James A. Rhodes State College, Terra Community College and The University of Toledo.

This homeland security consortium represents the only educational collaboration of this magnitude in the Midwest. The organization is dedicated to providing a unified, concurrent educational experience and more training assets than any other homeland security endeavor.

Owens Community College has been at the forefront in providing educational training to safety forces for over three decades. In April, the College broke ground for a new $25 million Fire and Police Training Center for Homeland Security. Owens' state-of-the-art facility will be located on a 110-acre site, featuring a Command and Simulation Center for Regional Anti-Terrorism and Emergency Management. The interior of the Center will consist of a simulation containment chamber, a command center and state-of-the-art classrooms and computer and science laboratories.

Phase I of Owens' initial project will be to install an infrastructure of water lines, gas lines and fiber optic cable. In addition, the first phase will include a smokeless burn building and an observation tower. Additional phases will include a mock city and a variety of other simulation scenarios.

Each segment of this project will be accompanied by the installation of a fiber optic link video system, which is connected to a computerized system. The innovative technology will allow for real-time observations of training exercises from remote locations.

Owens' longstanding commitment to regional training for safety forces includes in 2002 signing an agreement with the Ohio Fire Academy to provide college coursework to full- and part-time firefighters throughout the state of Ohio. This collaboration enables fire academy students to earn an Owens associate degree, while simultaneously receiving instructional and laboratory training. Owens is the first higher educational institution in the state to offer any type of degree program to Ohio Fire Academy students.

The College currently offers associate degrees and certificate programs in Fire Science Technology and Criminal Justice Science Technology, as well as Emergency Medical Technician Certification. Courses offered within the public service curricula include: criminal law and procedure, patrol operations, crime scene processing, fire fighting tactics and command, hazardous materials, fire inspection principles and first responder.

Among the local emergency and law enforcement agencies in which the College partners with are: the Findlay Police Department, Hancock County Sheriff's Office, Lucas County Sheriff's Office, North Baltimore Police Department, Pandora Police Department, Perrysburg Fire Department, Perrysburg Township Police Department, Tiffin Police Department, Toledo Corrections Center, Toledo Fire Department, Toledo Police Department and the Wood County Sheriff's Office.

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Northwest Ohio with 29 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo- area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 44,000 credit and non-credit students, making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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