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COLLEGES LAUNCH NATIONAL HOMELAND SECURITY EFFORT First-Response Experts to Lead Coordinating Task Force

Washington, D.C. – In response to a growing national need to develop better training and new programs related to homeland security, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) announces the appointment of a 21-member task force to define a long-range strategy for the nation’s 1,173 two-year colleges.

The AACC Ad Hoc Task Force on Homeland Security comprises 18 community college presidents and three senior specialists at institutions with advanced programs and demonstrated expertise in defense and security. Members were also chosen based on well-established relationships they have built with four-year colleges and universities, as well as with state and local security providers.

Community colleges represent the largest, fastest growing sector of higher education, currently educating the majority of the nation’s “first-responders.” Over half of new nurses and close to 85 percent of law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMTs are credentialed by the colleges. In addition, the colleges are rapidly establishing or expanding programs to prepare professionals in related fields such as environmental safety, cyber security, power grid management and emergency response management.

 “Because of their numbers and their close collaboration at local and state levels, community colleges represent a tested resource to help the nation ramp up its security effort in the most cost-effective way,” said AACC President George R. Boggs. “This new, strategic collaboration will significantly accelerate our national preparedness.”

The AACC Task Force began its work this week to prepare for a Feb. 8 meeting in Washington, D.C., to coalesce and coordinate extant homeland security efforts already well underway at community colleges around the nation. The group will also draw on the expertise of a newly-created Homeland Security and Public Safety Network, made up of community college faculty/staff specialists nationwide. Task Force members will serve for approximately two years; the Network will be ongoing.

Task Force members include the following community college presidents/chancellors: David Buettner (Fox Valley Technical College, Wis.), Vernon Crawley (Moraine Valley Community College, Ill.), Larry Devane (Redlands Community Colleges, Okla.), Mary Ellen Duncan (Howard Community College, Md.), Thomas Flynn (Monroe Community College, N.Y.), Margaret Forde (Houston Community College System – Northeast College, Texas), Herlinda Glasscock (Dallas County Community College District – North Lake College), Patricia Keir (San Diego Miramar College, Calif.), Carl Kuttler (St. Petersburg College, Fla.), Antonio Perez (Borough of Manhattan Community College, N.Y.), Donald Snyder (Lehigh Carbon Community College, Penn.), Mary Spangler (Oakland Community College, Mich.), Gwendolyn Stephenson (Hillsborough Community College, Fla.), Robert Templin (Northern Virginia Community College), Frank Toda (Columbia Gorge Community College, Ore.), Steven Wall (Pierce College, Wash.), Frances White (Skyline College, Calif.), P. Anthony (“Tony”) Zeiss (Central Piedmont Community College, N.C.).

Also selected to serve on the Task Force are: George Coxey, chair, Criminal Justice/Fire Science Technologies (Owens Community College, Ohio); Douglas Feil director, Environmental Health & Safety Training (Kirkwood Community College, Iowa); and Arthur Tyler, vice president, Administrative Services & Budget (Los Angeles City College, Calif.).

The current AACC Board Chair, Jesus (“Jess”) Carreon (chancellor, Dallas County Community College District, Texas), Chair-elect Henry Shannon (chancellor, St. Louis Community College, Mo.) and AACC President George R. Boggs will serve as ex officio members of the Task Force.

The American Association of Community Colleges represents the nation’s 1,173 regionally accredited community, junior, and technical colleges. The colleges annually serve close to half (45 percent) of all U.S. undergraduates, approximately 11 million students each year.