By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — The Fire Department is starting a new cadet program for local high schoolers interested in becoming a firefighter.
During its June 22 meeting, the City Council unanimously passed the resolution to establish and maintain the program. Cadets who are successful will be fully certified as a Michigan firefighter and will have earned nearly one-third of their associate’s degree.
The two-year dual enrollment program is in conjunction with Schoolcraft College to start, with possibly other colleges offering a similar program.
“This is a program where we get into our local high schools,” Fire Chief David Brogan said. “So the student is actually leaving the high school and going to Schoolcraft College where they’ll be taking classes to get them — the fire academy, which is Fire 1 and 2, and also they’ll get their basic EMT.”
Cadets cannot test to become a basic Emergency Medical Technician to be licensed until they’re 18 years old, but by the time they graduate from the program they will be eligible to take the necessary tests.
They will then spend time with the Fire Department as a requirement before becoming certified Michigan firefighter.
Cadets who graduate the program will only need their paramedic training to become fully qualified to work for the city’s fire department.
“So, this would be for local kids getting to see what it’s like to be a Dearborn Heights firefighter,” Brogan said. “We’re starting off kind of small with just a small number and we’ll hope that this is a program that will grow because, just like many other fields, it’s hard to find good candidates.”
According to a June 14 letter to the city council and mayor, students in grades 10 through 12 are eligible to join the cadet program.
Brogan said one student from Annapolis High School approached the Fire Department and is already signed up with Schoolcraft College.
For more information on the program, contact the Fire Department administration at 313-791-3650.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])