Lancaster – November's episode of Fairfield Today at OUL features two programs offered on campus that are transforming students and communities. The two public service programs are Law Enforcement Technology and Human Services Technology.
Law Enforcement Technology
"When students think about the Law Enforcement Technology program, they only think of being a police officer. But, the truth is there are so many fields you can go into," said Program Coordinator Lisa Taylor. "You can be a support person in law enforcement. You can be a dispatcher, fiscal person, or a security officer. There are so many things not only at the local level but also at the state and federal level."
Taylor routinely brings working professionals into the classroom to talk to students about the reality of working in the law enforcement field. LET Student Jessica Piechocki enjoys having the speakers come into the classroom. She knows that the field is dominated by men, but has learned that is changing from the professionals who speak in class.
"To be in this field, you have to have a passion for it," said Piechocki. "It is a calling in a way and I'm proud to be a female leading the way in this field."
"Back when I started I knew every female officer in my organization. Now, I find that I don't know every female because more females are getting involved," said Taylor. "It is a male-dominated field, but we have to realize we want our organizations to be a cross-section of our society. Hopefully we are making strides there."
Taylor feels bringing officers into the classroom helps start to prepare students for the tragic situations they will face when they get jobs in the field. The officers talk about the reality of the job and the sacrifices students must make to work in law enforcement.
Human Services Technology
Lisa Skeens is the program coordinator for the Human Services Technology program at OUL and she has to prepare her students to deal with tragedy as well. She knows how important it is to teach her students to do their jobs well because their jobs could take them into life or death situations.
"The Human Services Technology program prepares students for basic case management, basic counseling, and advocacy," said Skeens. "Many of our students start with the two-year degree, but we encourage them to go on for a bachelor's degree in either Social Work or Criminal Justice."
Heidi Hilyard is in her first year in the Human Services Technology program. It was her own tragedy that brought her to OUL. She wanted to find a way to help.
"Over the years, I've had a lot of friends pass away due to overdoses.Last year, I had a cousin who was murdered by domestic violence," said Hilyard. "I really just want to go help people.I know I can't save them all but if I can save a handful that's better than nothing."
"We provide a very technical, hands-on approach," said Skeens. "That's one of the positives about a technical human services degree.Students learn basic skills in assessment, crisis intervention, how to manage homicidal, suicidal violent behavior and how to advocate for victims of violence as well as basic case management skills."
Fairfield Today at OUL airs weekly on Time Warner Cable Channel 9 in Lancaster. More can be learned about the public service programs at OUL by clicking here.