Dayton Public Schools student Duil Navarro said joining the Fire/EMS CTE program was an easy decision because it could translate into a career focused on helping people.
“I want to become a paramedic. It’s something that will keep me interested, it’s a well-paying job and it seems fun to me,” the junior said.
“The possibility at any moment you have to go out into a call, get ready to go out there and help someone in any condition or situation, I thought that could be interesting for a while,” Navarro said.
The program, a result of a collaboration between Dayton Public Schools and the city of Dayton, allows students between grades 10 and 12 to train while in school and be qualified to apply for entry-level positions with the Dayton Fire Department upon graduation. It was announced two years ago, and now 20 students are enrolled in the program.
The partnership is also an initiative that reaches out to female and minority students with the goal to increase the diversity of the city’s fire department, Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein and Dayton Public Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said Wednesday.
“We are really proud of the students we have in the program right now,” Dayton Fire Chief Jeff Lykins said. “If you ask any chief throughout the country what their wish list would be it would be, without a doubt to have a diverse workforce, one that mirrors the racial and gender diversity of their community.”
He said Dayton’s youth has great talent, and it is important for the city and schools to team up and give students an opportunity to explore an important career like being a first responder.
On Wednesday, students demonstrated what they are learning at the Dayton Fire Training Center. Students operated a firehose, controlling the water’s speed and lifting the hose up and down to spray water. They also went into a fire training structure to spray water inside.
The courses are taught by Dayton Fire instructors. Navarro said the “uncertainty” of the classes and not knowing what’s next and what’s coming day-to-day is enjoyable.
“We’re not really told what we’re going to do beforehand. When we walk into the classroom, we have to have all our stuff ready,” the student said.
The students must always be prepared for any situation, Navarro said, just like on the job where a paramedic or firefighter doesn’t know what challenges await them when they clock into work.
“We don’t know if we’re going to come to that class and get our gear and go outside, or we’re just going to sit down and have a lecture,” Navarro said.
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