The Apprenticeship Program is designed for older youth who want to pursue a career in the fire service. The requirements to become a professional firefighter have increased significantly in recent years. Due to the growing demands that are placed on firefighters, the most qualified candidates are those who can obtain the required pre-employment training and certification that is often cost prohibitive for low-income and socio-economically deprived residents of urban areas.
This dilemma is creating a disproportionate disadvantage for many young residents who have a desire to serve their community but are unable to do so. As the needs of the fire service, and the safety of firefighters, appropriately dictate the minimum qualifications of the applicants, there must be specific plans to provide training opportunities to disadvantaged low-income residents who also seek a career of service to their community.
The Firefighter Youth Academy will assist individuals who determine that they want to pursue a career in public safety. As high school students, cadets will be assisted in developing some of the basic academic skills, such as reading comprehension, writing, math and science, which are required to be successful in the highly competitive testing process to become a firefighter/paramedic. In cooperation with the local school district, youth will be academically prepared to enroll in and complete a post high school Emergency Medical Technician certification program. An exercise and conditioning program will also be prescribed to ensure physical fitness is achieved and maintained.
Firefighter mentors will provide cadets with basic public safety training, as well as an opportunity to gain exposure to the firefighting profession. When permissible by the fire protection agency, job shadowing and ride-along opportunities will be made available. Prior to completion of high school, youth will be directed to a local community college where they will continue their education by enrolling in an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program, a paramedic program, and/or a State of California Firefighter I certification program.