JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department is seeking young men and women to join its apprentice program.
An open house will be held at the Legends Center at 10 a.m. Saturday on Soutel Drive. The program focuses on people in specific Jacksonville ZIP codes (see details below).
The apprentice program has been around since 2016.
Dwayne Lee, who went on to become a Jacksonville firefighter, was the first person to graduate from the program.
“I felt like I was committed to it and really wanted to do it,” Lee said. “I really wanted it.”
JFRD’s challenging but productive program guides apprentices to becoming state certified as an EMT and firefighter. Tuition is paid in full.
“It’s in my genes. My Grandma, she took care of us when we were younger. I grew up in the household of six kids,” Lee said. “She always told me never to quit in anything I do.”
Lee admitted that some days were harder than others, but said his grandmother inspired him. He would catch multiple buses, travel three hours and work an additional job all with the purpose of becoming a firefighter.
He graduated from the apprentice program in fall 2017 and became a Jacksonville firefighter in January 2018.
JFRD Chief Keith Powers said he wants more people like Lee to join the program.
“It doesn’t just change the person’s life, it changes generation behind them as well,” Powers said. “They get a job like this, they can support their family, take care of their family and afford to send their children to college.”
Lee said one day he wants to become a chief like Powers. As he climbs the ladder in life and in his career, he knows JFRD will support his dream of being a successful firefighter.
Lee’s grandmother passed away last year. He said her love and wisdom has kept him motivated and that he is going to make her proud.
To apply for the program, click here.
To be considered, you must meet these requirements:
- Must be 17-21 years old.
- Must reside in one of these zip codes: 32202, 32205, 32206, 32208, 32209, 32210, 32211, 32218, 32244, 32254
- Must be a High School Graduate or Equivalent or a High School Senior.
If selected, candidates must pass a:
- Background screening
- Drug test
- Pre-physical agility test
The selection process will require further review of, but is not limited to, the following:
- Oral interview performance
- Written and practical assessments
- Driving record
JFRD said to expedite the process of your application to bring a copy of the following documents to its open house:
- Valid driver’s license or ID (both sides)
- Birth certificate
- High school diploma or GED
- Official high school transcripts (GPA must be listed)
- Drive record report from last three years from DMV
- Immunization record
- Proof of health insurance