Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford announced the Gadsden Fire Department has been awarded $11,600 that will be used to improve its career-tech program for local students.
The funds were received from the Coosa Valley RC&D Council and will be used to purchase three interactive multimedia panels for the classroom.
In 2023, the city relaunched its career-technical education program at its new Fire Training and Prevention Center adjacent to the Gadsden Airport.
"As a former legislator, I always fought for more RC&D funds to go to great programs in Gadsden," said Ford. "This is a great fit for these grant dollars and will improve the educational experience for students going through our fire program. We are blessed with excellent leadership in the Gadsden Fire Department with the foresight to see the needs and find creative solutions."
The GFD is partnering with Gadsden City High School and the Etowah County School System for the “Emergency and Fire Management Services” program, which is aimed at students interested in pursuing careers in those fields.
“We’re thankful to the Coosa Valley RC&D Council for these funds, and it’ll be another way to improve our career-tech program,” said Gadsden Fire Chief Wil Reed. “This will benefit the Gadsden Fire Department, but it will also help other volunteer fire departments around the county whose members go through our program.”
High school seniors who complete the program will receive a volunteer firefighter certification (VF160) through the Alabama Fire College. Then, they are eligible to complete a short 5-week bridge course for professional state certification as a Firefighter I.