Dual grants from state help 911

Two grants provided by the state of Iowa’s Workforce Development Fund will provide funds for the Marshalltown 911 Communications Department and the Marshall County Communications Commission to give 911 training and certification to adults in the country, a big boost to a job that is always in need of more numbers no matter the season. 

The director of the Marshall County Communications Department is Rhonda Braudis, who said the grants are different from each other. 

The first grant, received Sept. 23, is a $100,000 COVID Relief Fund grant by the state. Marshalltown is one of 65 recipients of the grant, which allows Braudis to fund a 911 education and certification program for members of Marshall County.

This certification will allow participants who complete the program to take a job as a 911 operator in Marshall County or anywhere in Iowa. The point of this course is to “give them background of what it is and how it works,” Braudis said. 

This is an option that’s open to anyone over the age of 18 and willing to participate, Braudis said.

“We want to make sure we get the right folks in here,” she said. “It’s a great job, but not necessarily for everyone.”

The second grant, called Earn to Learn, will provide the department with $129,800 to enroll six individuals who completed the course provided by the COVID Relief Fund grant and apply for this second course. 

Anyone who completes the first course can apply if they would like, but only six will be selected. 

Braudis said it is important for people to take the courses and figure out if they would want to actually do this job, since it requires an ability to converse with people who are in distress. 

“Some might make it this far and be like ‘This isn’t what I thought it was,'” Braudis said. “And that’s okay. You’re going to be talking to people who are dealing with possibly the worst day of their life.”

Marshalltown is one of 46 911 units in the state to receive the grant. 

The grants do have deadlines — the COVID Relief Fund grant must be completed by February, and all money for the grants must be used by the end of December. So Braudis and her unit have no time to waste and are actively looking for applicants. She said they have 80 people signed up and have space for a total of 160-to-200 in the program. 

She encouraged any and all people who are interested in participating to reach out to her, and for anyone who knew somebody looking for an opportunity to tell them about the program. 

Braudis emphasized the part Iowa State Representative Dean Fisher and State Senator Jeff Edler played in this coming about, encouraging Braudis and agreeing about the importance of getting those grants. 

She made clear that the Marshall County Communications Commission was a big help, too, in supporting her goal to get “game-changing” opportunities for the department.

“Their dedication to the people of Marshall County is remarkable, it really is,” Braudis said. “This is a game-changer for some who have lost jobs during the pandemic.”

Contact Noah Rohlfing at 641-753-6611 or nrohlfing@timesrepublican.com.


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