Completing a year-long professional development program, Ashley McDonald, Public Information Officer/Programs Coordinator for Rutherford County Government, joins less than 70 others across the U.S. as a recognized Master Public Information Officer (MPIO). McDonald is also the first MPIO graduate in the State of Tennessee.
Established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2017, the MPIO program is a three-course series designed to prepare senior level public information officers for an expanded role in delivering public information and warning using a strategic, whole community approach. It is the Department of Homeland Security’s highest level of training and credentialing for public information professionals.
“The Master PIO Course is the pinnacle of our training for emergency public information professionals,” said FEMA Emergency Management Institute Deputy Superintendent Michael J. Sharon. “It solidifies the skills they learned in our Basic and Advanced PIO courses to build seasoned communicators who are ready in times of crisis.”
The program reinforces the qualities needed to lead whole community public information/external affairs programs, provides relevant management theories and concepts and uses case studies to enhance public information/external affairs skill sets.
MPIO program participants work within a collaborative environment on projects with an established network of peers. Participants contribute to the body of knowledge for emergency management through evaluation of leadership, group dynamics and functional best practices of joint information centers (JICs) and by conducting peer-reviewed research resulting in a paper published by the National Emergency Training Center Library at the U.S. Fire Administration.
“We are proud of Ashley’s recent accomplishment and know that it will only enhance her ability to serve our county and citizens well,” said Mayor Bill Ketron.