Riverside County Workforce Development Funding Fire, EMT Cadets
Riverside County Workforce Development has created a program to fund Public Safety students.
Currently, Moreno Valley College is educating 37 fire cadets and 15 EMT cadets that are fully funded by Riverside County Workforce Development at a cost of $125,000.
"As the region continues to emerge from the COVID pandemic, public safety agencies have found themselves behind in hiring new personnel due to retirements, promotions and retention," Phil Rawlings, dean of Instruction for the School of Public Safety, said.
CALFIRE/Riverside County Fire Department reports there are currently 70 firefighter paramedic vacancies and additional local agencies are reporting a hiring need in the classification. In fact, CALFIRE announced the need to hire 1,800 firefighters throughout the state in the next few years to meet a growing demand and to help offset retirements.
To address agencies' needs, Rawlings said during the spring of 2022 the School of Public Safety modified its marketing strategies. The result was Class #45 having 37 of the 38 Fire Academy cadets fully sponsored and another 15 EMT students, who met application requirements, funded through Workforce Development.
"Moreno Valley College School of Public Safety began a partnership over three years ago when Riverside County Board of Supervisor Kevin Jeffries saw the evolving shortage of fire fighters in Riverside County," Rawlings said. "A conversation with Riverside County Workforce Development was initiated to evaluate a mechanism to use Workforce Development funding to pay for student training and education in the public safety fields."
The program evolution has been slow. But it is growing and even expanding. Recently, the law program had its first successful applicant receive funding to attend the Level III Modular Academy Training program.
"With our continued collaborative partnership with the Riverside County Workforce Development office we are hopeful to extend our public safety course offerings to include the Paramedic program and Modular I and II of our Administration of Justice offerings to complete the series," Rawlings said.
Tuition for the EMT program at Moreno Valley College is $1,200 and the Fire Academy program is $4,400. Cost includes books, tuition and uniforms. The College offers eight EMT sections per year and takes a semester to complete. Two cohorts are offered for the Fire Academy.