CHESAPEAKE, Va. - The Chesapeake Career Center is filling a critical need by training the next generation of 911 emergency dispatchers.
They want to make sure when the public calls 911, a trained professional is there to answer the call.
After the shooting at Heritage High School in Newport News on Monday and various threats to other schools, News 3 is turning attention to the men and women who answer the 911 calls.
"You don't know what's on the other end of that line," said Samantha Cesil.
Cesil was an emergency dispatcher in Chesapeake for years.
"I've been the last person to talk to somebody, you know, and those are hard," she said.
Now, she's using her experience to give back. Cesil is teaching the brand-new Emergency Telecommunications 911 course at the Chesapeake Career Center.
Students are given real-life scenarios where they must document information correctly and provide help to the "caller" on the other end of the phone.
"I definitely want to show it to the kids that life is precious - you don’t know what’s gonna happen next," Cesil said. "You definitely have to be quick on your feet, [have] critical thinking [skills], empathy, respect, and keep that professional dynamic."
All while dispatch centers deal with staffing shortages. Despite that, the calls don't stop.
It's why 12th grader Hunter Waller signed up for the course.
"I really want to help others be able to be able to get people to help they really need," he said.
Students will learn how to document information under pressure while using the same software that's in the city's call center.
"Having this type of program puts them one step ahead," Cesil said.
If students pass the class, they will get their certification, which will put them at an advantage to be hired.
Any students in Chesapeake interested in this program would have to apply through their high school in order to be accepted into the Career Center.
Click here for class details.