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OUC Announces New Junior Academy to Expose Students to Career Opportunities

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

(Washington, DC) - Today, the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) announced the launch of its first Junior Academy, a free of cost, five (5) week program designed for high school students (ages 14-17) who are interested in exploring public safety communication careers in the District of Columbia.

“We are thrilled to be able to further demonstrate the many ways District residents can enjoy fulfilling and honorable careers in public service with our agency,” shared Acting Director Heather McGaffin. “The goal is to expose DC high school students to OUC career opportunities, and hopefully, eventually onboard participants who have a passion for public safety and are dedicated to serving the residents and visitors of the nation’s capital.”

Emergency and non-emergency incident management involves a complex network of highly trained subject matter experts, technology, systems, and processes, and while there are many who play critical roles in this ecosystem, DC911 proudly employs the first, first responders. The Academy offers insight into how the DC311 team serves as the heartbeat behind delivery of emergency city services. Accordingly, the OUC Junior Academy will highlight career pathways within both the public safety and public service communications field.

Through the Junior Academy, District high school students will experience firsthand what incredible career opportunities are available at the Office of Unified Communications while interacting with current employees and agency leadership.

The inaugural session for the first Academy cohort is scheduled for Thursday, March 16, from 4:30 pm until 6:30 pm. The additional 4 sessions will take place on consecutive Thursdays and include:

  • An overview of 911 and 311 communications and call handling simulations
  • A question-and-answer session with OUC leadership
  • A mock CritiCall Dispatcher Test, the national pre-employment test for 911 call takers and dispatchers
  • An overview of MPD Patrol Services/ Specialized Policing Units and Station Tour (1D)
  • A fire command simulation at Engine House 22
  • A graduation ceremony and certificate of completion

If you would like to join the OUC Junior Academy, please complete the interest form.

If you are ready to start your career at OUC, please visit