Minimizing the loss of life and the property damage that could result from a disaster unfolding in the Erie area is a challenge that has spawned a collaborative initiative between Mercyhurst College and the Erie County Emergency Management Agency.
The local agency is undertaking a disaster mitigation plan for the communities it serves and is calling on Mercyhurst to lend its expertise in the area of risk management, according to Robert Potalivo, director of the risk and insurance management program offered through Mercyhurst’s Office of Adult and Graduate Programs.
Although details are still being formalized, Potalivo said his office has begun by selecting adult student, Attorney Thomas Myers, to attend a four-day pilot program on “Disaster Resistance Job Training” April 7-11 in Emmetsburg, Md. Upon his return, Myers, who is enrolled in the college’s certificate in risk management program, would share the information he garnered from the program with fellow students and with the local emergency management agency.
Meanwhile, the partnership will enable Mercyhurst students to have a hands-on experience in putting their skills to use, which will result in employment opportunities upon graduation, Potalivo said.
“This collaboration will provide an excellent opportunity for our students, through internships and related work experiences, to gain maturity in realizing the challenges they will face in the future,” he added.
Likewise, the partnership will give the local agency help in addressing its project with “an outcome of quality information we would be able to share with the leadership of government, businesses, industries and schools in Erie County,” said Nicholas Sleptzoff, director, Erie County Emergency Management Agency.