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In September, Springfield City Council voted to approve an agreement between the Springfield Fire Department and the U.S. Department of Labor, giving permission for the SFD to begin registering all new firefighters in the U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Program. The Fire Department sought out the program to provide opportunities for firefighters to earn credit while accomplishing their formal fire academy and fire service-related on-the-job training.

Apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a nationally recognized, portable credential.  Apprenticeship is not just for the private sector – many municipal and federal government agencies, including the U.S. military, have apprenticeship programs.

There are 485 active apprentice programs, including 33 new programs in FY2020, with 14,200 active apprentices. The Springfield Fire Department is the first fire department in the state of Missouri in the program.

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"The registered apprenticeship program is an exceptional opportunity to provide our firefighters and those we train with a nationally recognized credential, in addition to opening the door for additional educational and training opportunities," said Fire Chief David Pennington. "Our partnership with the Missouri Career Center and the leadership of our teams in the Fire Department and Workforce Development has made this opportunity a reality. We look forward to all this will provide for the fire service throughout the region," Pennington said.

The SFD has registered 46 firefighters as apprentices in their new program. The program consists of 6,000 hours of on-the-job training for firefighters new to the fire service. It also allows for prior credit to be given to those who have previous experience.

The DOL officially recognized the Springfield Fire Department as a new program on Sept. 9 and presented the official documentation on Oct. 27 at a small ceremony in Springfield at the Springfield Fire Department Training facility.

Those interested in firefighter employment with the City of Springfield are encouraged to contact Lori Dyer with the Human Resources Department at 417-864-1607 or visit www.springfieldmo.gov/jobs.

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Media inquiries may be directed to Springfield Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Olan Morelan at 417-874-2300.

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