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Homeland security program receives federal funds

- December 3, 2007

The Department of Homeland Security has awarded a $1,334,200 competitive training grant to the Center for Continuing Studies at UConn.

The Center will develop and deliver a Collaborative Leadership in Homeland Security program for state and local homeland security senior and emerging leaders nationwide during the three-year project period, which began Oct. 1.

Roy Pietro, executive director of academic partnerships and special programs in the Center for Continuing Studies, says the purpose of the training program is to “develop a new breed of homeland security leaders, equipped with requisite critical thinking skills and collaborative leadership abilities. This will allow them to make effective strategic planning and incident management decisions on issues and challenges impacting the security of all Americans.”

The eight-week leadership development program will consist of three phases: a two-week web-based state and local homeland security crisis leadership simulation focusing on a pandemic flu scenario; a one-week mobile leadership labdesigned to develop collaborative leadership and critical thinking in homeland security; and a five-week web-based class on collaborative leadership in action.

During the project period, the Center for Continuing Studies will offer the program 15 times, to a total of 660 participants.

Each session will be attended by a cohort of 44 emerging and senior leaders who work in homeland security related areas.

Pietro and his staff have played a key role in the Center for Continuing Studies’ substantial commitment to the field of homeland security education. In 2001, they created a leadership development program for the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection Unit that was selected for a multi-year contract award.

In 2003, they signed a multi-year agreement with Connecticut’s Department of Public Safety to develop and manage a new Homeland Security Education Center for the state.

In 2004, Pietro and his staff oversaw the planning and evaluation of Connecticut’s participation in the largest counter-terrorism exercise in the world, known as TOPOFF (T3).

And the following year, the Center for Continuing Studies collaborated with the Naval Postgraduate School to coordinate mobile education training sessions on crisis planning and information/intelligence sharing for senior federal, state, and local government leaders.

Those efforts led to UConn’s selection as the lead academic partner for the Naval Postgraduate School’s graduate program in homeland security.

Under an articulation agreement with the Naval Postgraduate School, the Center for Continuing Studies successfully launched a cohort-based graduate program in homeland security leadership in 2005, with students from federal agencies such as the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Transportation Security Administration, as well as local and state law enforcement agencies from across the continental U.S. and Alaska.

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