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Inaugural fire pre-apprenticeship program offers tuition-free path for career as a first responder

Graduating cadets will have a guaranteed interview with Sacramento Fire Department 

Sacramento, CA - For a select group of hard-working, qualified individuals in the Sacramento area, a career in the fire service could be closer than they think.

Today Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg joined representatives from the Sacramento Fire Department, Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522, and the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (Cal-JAC) to announce the inaugural program for the 2018 Cal-JAC Academy.

“This is another big piece of Sacramento’s workforce development mission,” said Mayor Darrel Steinberg. “We are creating pathways for young people to work in both the private and the public sectors. Thank you to our Fire Department, firefighters, and Brian Rice for fighting hard to bring these resources to our city.”

Beginning this month, applications will be accepted for the tuition-free program that also provides funding to help offset the cost of childcare and travel expenses while offering a rigorous and comprehensive pathway for those serious about beginning a career as a first responder.

“For more than 30 years, the Cal-JAC has been the state’s leader in training, testing and recruiting the next generation of firefighters,” said Yvonne de la Peña, executive director for the Cal-JAC. “We’re proud to be relying on the relationships built over the past three decades to bring this innovative, pre-apprenticeship program to Sacramento, while helping make a career in the fire service a reality for those who may never have thought it possible.”

The program, which is set to begin instruction in early 2018, is designed to provide eligible candidates an opportunity to earn their Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification as the first step toward a career in the fire service. In addition to obtaining the skills required of a nationally registered EMT, academy cadets will physically train for the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), receive preparatory instruction for the Cal-JAC written exam, and hone their interview skills through the guidance of a firefighter mentor.

All graduating cadets will be invited to interview for a position with the Sacramento Fire Department and will also be added to Cal-JAC’s Firefighter Candidate Testing Center’s Statewide Eligibility List, which is used by fire departments throughout California that are looking to hire.

"This is a great labor – management partnership between Sacramento Fire, Cal-JAC, and Local 522 that we are proud to be a part of,” said Sacramento Fire Chief Walt White. “This will help our agency to diversify our workforce, increase our ability to reach a broader pool of qualified candidates, and creates opportunities for economically disadvantaged individuals who want to become firefighters."

“We are working together and building partnerships to ensure our workforce truly reflects the diversity of our community from neighborhood to neighborhood and culture to culture,” said Brian Rice, President of Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522. “It has really been a close partnership with the Mayor and his commitment to seeing that our city takes real action to achieve this goal.”

Sponsored by the Cal-JAC, the Butte County Office of Education, the Sacramento Fire Department and Sacramento Area Firefighters, Local 522, with a $500,000 grant supplied by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, the Cal-JAC Academy is open to candidates who can meet the following prerequisites:

  • Demonstrate financial need
  • 18 years of age on or before January 23, 2018 (Minimum hiring age of Sacramento Fire is 21*)
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Background Check
  • Drug Screening
  • Doctor’s clearance for physical activity
  • Up-to-date vaccinations (Hep A, Hep B, TB test)
  • Must pass Cal-JAC provided written assessment measuring reading and math skills

Candidates who meet these prerequisites are encouraged to visit for more information, or to submit an application.