RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Wake County is teaming up with Wake Tech Community College and six other fire departments to recruit more people to work for them.
The program is called “Career in a Year.”
The goal is to increase racial and gender diversity within its fire departments.
The county says right now 97 percent of staff with Wake County Fire Services are male. 94 percent are white.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says nationally around 95 percent of career firefighters are men and 85 percent are white.
For the first time, candidates a part of this program can apply with no experience to be able to earn a salary while being trained.
The county says they hope to break down barriers that may have prevented women and other minorities from considering careers in fire services.
The money comes from $2.3 million the county received from the American Rescue Plan Act.
Those who complete the program will have full-time jobs at one of their six local fire departments in the area.
Firefighters told CBS 17 they want to see more diversity in their workplace.
“Just for more different people, different cultures, different types of personalities to come in the same environment and help each other,” said Kenyon Seaberry, Northern Wake Fire Department firefighter.
He joined the Northern Wake Fire Department in January. He was recruited straight out of high school.
Marisa Benton is one of seven firefighters at the Fairview Fire Department.
“I think it’s great if we can get more people that represent the community to come on in. I think that’s awesome. Females, you know, this is a very tough job and I think if you can do it, you should do it absolutely,” said Benton.
From June 1 through July 15, interested candidates can attend one of the five information career expos the county is holding.
For more information, visit: https://www.wakegov.com/departments-government/fire-services-emergency-management/career-year