NDDES, NDSU strengthen partnership through professional development opportunities for students

<< All News Thursday, February 18, 2021

FARGO, N.D. – The North Dakota Department of Emergency Services welcomed its newest team member in January through collaboration with North Dakota State University’s Department of Emergency Management. Marcus Rehder was recently hired to work for the agency as a planning specialist, while completing his bachelor’s degree in emergency management. In this role, Rehder supports the development of local and state multi-hazard mitigation plans, the improvement of state recovery plans and mitigation integration initiatives by local, tribal and state planning teams.

Rehder’s employment with NDDES is the latest development in a collaborative partnership agreement co-signed by the agency and NDSU in 2018.

“We are so thankful to have a strong partnership with NDDES,” said Jessica Jensen, head of NDSU’s department of emergency management. “We are both committed to serving the citizens of North Dakota and continually exploring how to support one another in doing that.”

NDDES has routinely offered opportunities to NDSU students, even during the state’s COVID-19 response. Four students worked as interns, assisting NDDES’s Planning and Response Sections, as well as the Joint Information Center to coordinate and release public information. Another five students worked as administrative professionals, recording minutes from important virtual meetings hosted online so response staff could reference the notes when absent for other duties.

Rehder’s hire represents the first time an undergraduate has been recruited directly from NDSU’s emergency management department to work at the agency full-time.

“This was a unique way of supporting our existing agreement with NDSU by not only hiring one of its emergency management students, but to further develop them as a professional for future positions,” said Sean Johnson, NDDES Planning Section Chief. “By advertising the opening through the university, in addition to our regular recruiting methods, we were able to interview very good candidates with a lot of potential. Now, we can work with Marcus and give him the experience that goes with his educational background.”

Rehder will finish classes at NDSU while working remotely using online technology to perform his duties at NDDES.

“The ability to practically apply what I have learned during my time at both NDSU and NDDES has allowed for tremendous growth as a professional in the emergency management field,” Rehder said. “NDDES has been very flexible, allowing me to work from home and maintain my commitments as a student. My hope is to grow in this space of continual learning and progress within the public sector after graduation.”

Offering undergraduate and graduate degrees since 2003, NDSU’s emergency management program educates students about hazards, what makes us vulnerable to them, and how we might best cope with hazard events. Graduates from the program work throughout the state and region in government agencies, school districts, hospitals, businesses and nonprofits as emergency management planners/specialists, continuity planners, safety specialists and more.

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