Putting life skills to work

Flooding in southwest Michigan during February 2018 provides an opportunity to watch public officials put their life skills to work.

Have you ever thought about the skills a person needs to be a mayor or emergency management director? The recent flooding in southwest Michigan has been something for the record books as we wrap up the month of February 2018. As I have done my work in Berrien County, I have had the opportunity to see and hear of several local mayors and public safety officials working together over the last several days.

There are a variety of skills these individuals need to remain professional, patient and effective. The ability to provide leadership, communicate and organize people and processes are some of the life skills that come to mind. They also need to cooperate, multi-task, delegate and be prepared to speak in public.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Emergency management directors prepare plans and procedures for responding to natural disasters or other emergencies. They also help lead the response during and after emergencies, often in coordination with public safety officials, elected officials, nonprofit organizations and government agencies.”

Emergency management directors usually work for local or state government, but some may work for nonprofit organizations, hospitals and private companies. It is also common to work collaboratively with public safety officials.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also indicates that the need for emergency management directors is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Related occupations with some similar responsibilities include budget or management analysists and top executives. These jobs all seem to require a bachelor’s degree and some related work experience.

Michigan State University offers academic programs in political science and public policy that can help prepare you for a job or career in public policy such as an emergency management director or public administrator. To explore these programs further, check out MSU’s College of Social Science.

These are just a couple of the jobs and careers I have thought of recently. You should explore all sorts of jobs and careers as you navigate your future plans.

MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

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