Firefighting apprentice program will address some burning needs in Oregon

07 October 2021

USA – Some industries hope an “earn while you learn” apprenticeship system might help fill jobs more quickly and attract non-traditional applicants. Such programs were the topic at Thursday’s Springfield City Club meeting

Among the newest apprentice-model initiatives in Oregon is a professional firefighter program. Mike Caven is a Battalion Chief with Eugene Springfield Fire. He said when the Holiday Farm Fire started, it was all they could do to get people out of the area, and they could have used more personnel.

“We are maybe a decade removed from what California sees in the sheer volume of fire that threatens not only our rural communities, but now our urban communities,” said Caven, “and Oregon needs investment in firefighters. This apprenticeship program is the first step towards that.”

Caven said local firefighters are the first on the scene to nearby wildfires, until other agencies can organize and respond. Eugene Springfield is one of three departments statewide to test the program.

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