August 12 — Scores of girls and young women were introduced to the field of emergency management last week when
The program aims to develop diversity in emergency management, particularly among girls and young women who may not otherwise have opportunities in emergency management and similar professions.
The participants, girls and women from junior high to junior college and from diverse backgrounds, took part in hands-on development learning activities to highlight skills needed for disaster preparedness and emergency management, as well as other careers. Participants also received a keynote from the FEMA Administrator
All attendees participated for free thanks to
It was an experience that most or all of the participants would not have had it not been for the HERricane program, which is why it exists.
“Some of these young ladies come from foster homes, schools that aren’t the best, and for them, sitting in a classroom, in an EOC for the first time and seeing
The program is offered to schools, towns and other groups where young women and girls can be recruited to participate in a template program or one with some local modifications.
“When it comes to curriculum, it’s pretty standardized,” Willis said. “We really offer the location the opportunity to make it very specific in some way to that location, so for example, even though it’s the HERicane program,
Cities, schools or organizations interested in participating can contact I-DIEM and go through an application process to develop the event.
The program started in
“We wanted to partner with a like-minded organization like Farmers that is in the same field of disaster response and disaster recovery and cares about justice,” Willis said. “When we saw how many women they had in leadership, we knew it would be a great partnership.”
Farmers is also recruiting some of the HERricane program participants to participate in the Farmers internship program.
“The program has done a good job not only in inspiring girls and women to get involved in emergency management but also in other areas,” said
The program was originally aimed at girls aged 12 to 18, but Farmers suggested recruiting older girls to have a more immediate impact.
Willis said two-thirds of women and people of color begin their educational careers at community colleges. “So if you want to diversify the field for women and people of color, community colleges are an integral part of that diversification, and that’s where, frankly, Farmers kind of stepped in and said, ‘Let’s look at this more strategically.'”
Willis said after 23 years in emergency management, she understands what it’s like to be in a male-dominated field and wants to make it easier for those who follow in her footsteps.
“I was the only woman in the room. I was the only woman of color in the room,” she said. “It’s important for us to really make the field of emergency management more representative of the people who are actually experiencing the impacts of climate change and disasters in general.”
(c) 2022 Government Technology
Visit Government Technology at www.govtech.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.