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High school fire academy lets seniors jump start a service career

SALISBURY – Thanks to a partnership between Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Rowan-Salisbury Schools, local high school seniors interested in a career as a firefighter may begin their training during the school day through the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College High School Fire Academy.

The academy offers instruction for high school students at RCCC’s North Campus during their senior year, leading to certifications allowing them to begin work with local agencies. There is no cost to the student, and all equipment is provided. Students also earn credit toward high school graduation while in the program.

“I would definitely tell anyone thinking about enrolling in this program to do it. It is 100 percent worth it and a great opportunity to build a career at an early age,” said Evan Kreiner, who completed the Academy in May and is now a member of the Spencer Fire Department. “The program allowed me to get my certifications quicker than a traditional rookie school and still have time for my high school classes, fun and rest.”

The High School Fire Academy trains students to become N.C. certified firefighters/emergency medical responders. The N.C. firefighter certification also serves as a prerequisite for specialized and higher-level training in the fire service field.

“This is win-win for local high school students and for the community,” Salisbury Fire Chief Robert Parnell said. “The community needs dedicated, well-trained public safety professionals, and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College operates one of the largest and most well-known fire training programs in the state. For a student who has a competitive spirit and a will to serve, the Fire Academy offers an excellent chance to get a head start on a fulfilling career.”

The Rowan-Cabarrus fire training program prepares students to obtain North Carolina firefighter certification with the N.C. Department of Insurance, International Fire Service Accreditation Congress, and the National Board of Fire Service Professional Qualifications.

“We are pleased to be able to work alongside Rowan-Salisbury Schools to provide this opportunity for students to get ahead and begin a rewarding career right out of high school,” RCCC President Carol Spalding said. “With more than 40 fire organizations located within Rowan County, well-trained firefighters are always in demand to protect and serve the citizens of our community.”

Seats are still available for the High School Fire Academy for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. For more information, students may talk with their Rowan-Salisbury Schools guidance counselor or contact Lee Ennis at lee.ennis@rccc.edu or 704-216-3466 or Mark Brown at mark.brown@rccc.edu or 704-216-3459. For information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

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