MARIETTA - A new course being offered at Washington State Community College this fall is focused on training certified employees for the private security industry.
"It's the first time this private security academy has been offered in this area, and that's part of the reason we're offering it," said John Burdette, WSCC public safety academies coordinator.
He said the need for private security workers is growing and there are current job openings with factories, hospitals, private businesses and other facilities. But even more growth can be expected as the shale oil and gas industry expands in Ohio.
Photo by Sam Shawver
Paul McKahan with Securitas Security Services USA talks with sophomore Ashton Guinn in the parking lot at Washington State Community College.
We've already been told with the oil and gas boom there will be a corresponding boom in the need for security at those sites," Burdette said. "Our academy will provide all-encompassing training for those types of security jobs. And I think private security companies will be particularly happy to have a pool of trained, certified individuals to choose from."
He said many private security companies risk a lot of money on training new employees who may or may not continue in the field.
"But graduates of our private security academy have taken the course because that's what they want to do," Burdette added. "And they will be certified, experienced officers."
The 145-hour course takes one semester to complete, and students have the option to take an additional 45 hours of firearms training if they wish.
Burdette said the private security course is much shorter than WSCC's 579-hour peace officer academy training and employment is available in a variety of careers, including loss control specialists, uniformed and plain clothed security officers, armored car officers and VIP/dignitary protection.
The academy is also offered as an elective for students in the Criminal Justice associate degree program.
Jobs in the private security industry are expected to grow by 18 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which lists the security positions among the 30 occupations expected to experience the most growth over the decade.
Kathy Lott-Gramkow, director of employment and training for Washington-Morgan Community Action, said there have been some recent hirings for private security jobs.
"We have seen a need, especially with the coming oil and gas industry growth who are looking for people to keep watch over their drilling sites," she said. "A lot of area plants also contract with private security firms. But it does require some training."
Lott-Gramkow noted that private security training and certification has become more significant due to homeland security concerns since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Burdette said 10 students have enrolled in this year's private security academy course, which is currently being offered only during fall semesters at the school. The next academy will start in the fall of 2013.
Classes began Aug. 24 and are scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays for 10 consecutive weeks.