In his home country of Pakistan, Community College Initiative (CCI) Program alumnus Muhammad Shahzad Khan recently planted trees with the help of his fire and rescue department as part of the CCI Seeds campaign to celebrate 10 years of the CCI Program. Muhammad, who was recently promoted to the position of Rescue and Safety Officer (a position which is equivalent to Chief in the United States), planted the trees around the rescue facility where he works. As part of the event, Muhammad reached out to tell his CCI story about how the various aspects of the CCI Program helped him secure his new position.
During the 2014-2015 program year, Muhammad studied Public Safety at Bunker Hill Community College where he earned a certificate in Fire Safety. In addition to working towards his certificate in Fire Safety, Muhammad took advantage of the other professional development opportunities available to him through the CCI Program to gain the skills and credentials he needed to advance his career and help his community back home. During his exchange year, Muhammad became a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). Muhammad says being a part of these organization gave him “an extra opportunity to interact with experts in emergency and disaster management.”
Muhammad also mentioned how his commitment to community service in the U.S. also helped his professional development. During his CCI year, he volunteered with organizations like Boston Cares, the American Red Cross, and local fire and rescue stations, where he learned about serving diverse communities with differing needs. After 10 months of dedicated volunteering, Muhammad brought his commitment to serve local communities back home. “I’m doing some extra volunteer work to give back to my community … I have organized multiple training sessions regarding basic life support and fire protection and safety for my own department, and for other departments of my province.” Muhammad’s training sessions with local police, hospitals, and colleges in his district has served over 3,500 participants.
Of all his experiences in the CCI Program, Muhammad attributes his promotion most distinctly to his U.S. internship.
“I did my internship with the Chelsea Office of Emergency Management, in the city of Chelsea, MA and learned about how to handle vulnerable communities in emergencies and disasters … I experienced how they are using advance technology in the line of emergency/disaster management … and [are] well prepared to respond accurately and effectively in any emergency/disastrous situations.”
Muhammad’s exposure to advanced medical technologies and emergency services during his internship gave him an edge in his interview process with his fire and rescue department back home, but it is the combination of volunteering, academics, and the desire to do more that led Muhammad to his position now. The CCI Program is proud of Muhammad’s professional accomplishments, and of the seeds of good intentions that he has sown for the future of his local community in Pakistan.