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Center of Excellence for Homeland Security Emergency Management


The HSEM Center holds a unique position in our state’s higher education system. We partner with business and industry partners to train and educate a skilled workforce that helps maintain our safety and security and builds emergency and disaster resilience in our communities.

It provides in-depth research, recognizing and sharing best practices, and inspiring collaboration between education leaders and industry to drive change in diverse and technologically advancing industries to ensure the appropriate leadership, technology, systems training, and education needs are met. It is a resource that creates and shares model curricula, identifies educational pathway opportunities, facilitates the establishment of certificate and degree programs, identifies industry specific skill standards and best practices and identifies gaps in the system’s ability to meet existing and emerging needs. The Center is advised by a 30-member advisory board of that advocates, coordinates, establishes strategic plans and advises the Center.

The words, “Homeland Security Emergency Management Center of Excellence” around a circle containing a star with three ascending lines. Beneath a banner, “Building resilience”

Program Highlights

Homeland Security Emergency Management is Everybody's Business

Homeland Security-Emergency Management (HSEM) is a dynamic and diverse career field. Employees prepare for, prevent, and react to events that threaten our country and the well-being of its people. HSEM jobs secure our borders, airports, seaports, and waterways. They research and develop security technologies, prepare for and respond to natural disasters or terrorist attacks, and analyze intelligence reports, among many other tasks. Like security threats themselves, the work required to protect the Nation is constantly changing. That work cuts across numerous disciplines, creating job possibilities for people with nearly any level of education and experience. Options exist both for those who like to be in the forefront and for those who prefer to work in the background. We help to reduce our Nation's vulnerabilities and to minimize the damage from catastrophic events.

The field of Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM) is broad and includes many areas of work responsibilities. We have identified six career pathways, including degrees in Criminal Justice, Technology and Cyber Security, Emergency Medical and Health Services, Fire Service, Homeland Security Emergency Management, and Occupation Health and Safety that are groups of shared skills and responsibilities of occupations in this field. Each pathway addresses a different career cluster within the program area of Homeland Security Emergency Management. The Center helps Community and Technical College programs, students, and employers to meet the needs for well educated professionals in all of the public safety, security and emergency management career pathways.


Competency-Cutting Edge Knowledge-Experience

Education leaders tell us they are looking for reliable information, data analysis and resources. Working together with our research educators they receive support for curriculum development, program enhancement and expansion, facilitations of articulation agreements, professional development workshops and conferences.


“The director for the HSEM Center of Excellence saw the need for a program model that could serve the needs for HSEM students throughout the state of Washington. She envisioned a model that brought several colleges together to collaborate and deliver an online program statewide. The collaborative program allowed students from across the state interested in all-hazard emergency management to deliver this program to nine (9) colleges when a single college would not have had enough students within their catchment area to do so. The goal was to have a seamless experience for students from many colleges to enroll and it has been very successful. There are many benefits from this model for students, colleges and the industry and we continue to learn, adapt and improve it.”

“Partnerships That Improve Program Design” Pierce/Olympic College’s at 2018 NCWE Conference



Public-Private Partners

To ensure it has the best practices and educational research available the Center maintains a strong relationship with a large collection of professional affiliations.

Public and private partners include: Federal Emergency Management Association’s (FEMA) Institute, WA State Emergency Management, International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), Washington Associations of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC), International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Officials (IACLEA). We are members of the NSF-ATE Cyber Watch West Consortium and the National Preparedness Training Centers, Pacific NW Tribal Emergency Management Council (NWTMEC), WA State Emergency Management Association (WSEMA) and the Pacific NW Economic Region-Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR).

The HSEM Center of Excellence is working with the US Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau in Seattle which has launched a web page called Women Build, Protect, and Move America. They support women in law enforcement and those who are interested in pursuing the law enforcement & public safety careers.