New partnership prepares EVIT firefighting students for careers in rural Arizona communities

Aug 19, 2023, 6:30 AM

fire personnel in training putting out a blaze...

EVIT students training in how to put out fires. (East Valley Institute of Technology Photo)

(East Valley Institute of Technology Photo)

PHOENIX — A new partnership between the East Valley Institute of Technology and a metro Phoenix fire department is improving how prepared some students are for firefighting careers in smaller Arizona communities.

Though the partnership with Superstition Fire and Medical District, students at EVIT can earn state-recognized credentials, which will allow them to apply for work in rural communities immediately after they’ve completed the program.

Typically, EVIT students interested in firefighting careers in large communities attend fire academies hosted by cities such as Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson. With the collaboration, graduates can enter the workforce right away in communities that don’t have academies.

What can EVIT students expect from the program?

The partnership will include job shadowing opportunities, content expertise and knowledge by the fire district and fire personnel supporting skill development.

“This partnership is an example of EVIT’s mission to serve our communities. In this case, our community is the state of Arizona,” Chief Academic Officer Ronda Doolen said in a press release.

“Our smaller community neighbors need firefighters and emergency response personnel and with the support of the Superstition district, EVIT fire students will be prepared to serve those communities.”

Students will also get the chance to earn certificates in CPR, wildland fire fighting and more.

Superstition District Chief John Whitney applauded the program for its high level of education and exposure for students to experience the fire service.

“Although SMFD firefighters attend post-hire Regional Fire Academies as part of our valley-wide automatic agreement, we felt this was an incredible opportunity to provide educational connectivity, focused access to potential candidates and assistance to our Arizona fire service partners across the state as we all face unprecedented challenges,” Whitney said in the release.

“Providing this sponsorship enables EVIT to produce state-certified firefighters for agencies that need personnel immediately.”

About 180 students are enrolled in the EVIT Fire and Emergency Services program, which started at the end of July and ends in May.

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New partnership prepares EVIT firefighting students for careers in rural Arizona communities