Cobb County high school students train for careers as 911 dispatchers

MARIETTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - There is a sense of urgency inside Cobb County’s emergency 911 center. Dispatchers respond to more than 800,000 calls for help every year and need to fill 15 vacant positions.

“It kind of starts here. If you need help you call and you get us, so we need people to answer that career path and answer that call,” Cobb County 911 Training Coordinator Leighann Schultz said.

To recruit emergency responders, Cobb County 911 officials teamed up with Osborne High School in Marietta to offer a 40-hour training course to students interested in a public safety career.

“When we heard about it, I was very interested because I wanted to be part of something that was going to give me a job opportunity after high school,” Osborne High School senior Cesia Diaz said.

The program is the first of its kind in metro Atlanta and all 14 students enrolled passed the class. Two of them have applied for jobs.

“So, the reason I applied is because being a dispatcher is not just answering calls, it’s not just that. They play many roles,” Diaz said.

“It introduces them to what 911 is and how they can make a career out of it. It’s not just a secretary service or an answering service for the responders, it’s a profession,” Schultz said.

To be eligible for a job in the 911 center you must be 18 years old with at least a high school degree. Starting salary is just over $48,000.

Adam Murphy

Adam Murphy

Adam Murphy is veteran journalist with 22 years of television news experience. Adam has been the Consumer Investigative reporter at Atlanta News First in Atlanta since 2003.