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EFD Partners with Rep. Robyn Gabel, Local Elected Officials to Improve Pathways to Fire Service Careers

Post Date:09/30/2019 10:06 AM

Explorers 15Firefighter apprenticeship programs will provide more individuals with a pathway to fire service careers in Evanston and Illinois as the result of a bill signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker on August 23.

HB2854, sponsored by State Representative Robyn Gabel and developed in collaboration with the Evanston Fire Department, amends the Illinois Municipal Code and the Fire Protection District Act to create a hiring preference for applicants who have completed at least 600 hours of fire suppression work in a 12-month period as part of a certified apprenticeship program. Qualified candidates can receive up to 20 preference points added to their firefighter eligibility list score, providing them with a much increased chance of securing employment.

"Thank you to Evanston Fire Chief Brian Scott for working with me to develop this innovative and transformative law," said Representative Gabel. "It allows a wider range of backgrounds and experiences to be considered for firefighters’ apprenticeships, thus expanding access to good jobs beyond traditional sources."

Co-sponsors of HB2854 include State Senator Laura Fine, State Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, State Representative Kathleen Willis, and State Representative Mike Murphy. The bill was developed with support from the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois (AFFI), and AFFI President Pat Devaney.

"My thanks to Representative Gabel for leading this important effort, which will help strengthen and diversify the Evanston Fire Department and fire departments across the state," said Fire Chief Brian Scott. "This law will not only encourage more individuals to explore a fire service career through a certified apprenticeship program, it will also help ensure that departments can hire the best candidates available, resulting in safer communities."

The Evanston Fire Department is currently working with Oakton Community College to develop a three-year firefighter apprenticeship program, which is anticipated to launch in the fall of 2020. The program would complement the department's popular Fire Explorer Program, which provides an opportunity for junior high, high school and college students to become familiar with career opportunities available in the fire service.

For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, residents may simply dial 3-1-1 in Evanston.

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