FireVEST: Training Tomorrow’s Heroes
In Allegheny County, volunteer firefighters protect over 910,000 people. In addition, volunteer firefighters save the county an estimated $60 million dollars a year. There are 203 volunteer fire companies in Allegheny County and the challenge of keeping these companies fully staffed, well trained and ready to respond at a moment’s notice is one that nearly every fire company in the region addresses on a regular basis.
Because fire companies are essential to ensuring safe and well-protected communities, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, the Allegheny County Fire Academy and CCAC are working together to offer the Allegheny County Fire Volunteer Education, Service & Training Scholarship Program (FireVEST) that provides full scholarships for an associate’s degree or certificate program at CCAC, as well as training at the Allegheny County Fire Academy.
Of the 200 scholarships offered per year, 150 are for new recruits in exchange for a commitment of five years of service to a volunteer fire department in Allegheny County, while 50 scholarships will be awarded to existing volunteers in exchange for a commitment of five additional years of service.
Scholarship applicants must be residents of Allegheny County and either be a current volunteer or have joined a volunteer fire department in Allegheny County. Applicants must apply and be accepted to CCAC, file for federal and state financial aid and complete the financial aid process on time and in its entirety.
If awarded a scholarship, recipients are required to meet certain obligations. These include:
- serving as a volunteer firefighter for five years in Allegheny County;
- maintaining an acceptable level of service as monitored by recipient’s fire department;
- completing required courses at the Allegheny County Fire Academy – see list of courses on the FireVEST Application;
- maintaining a minimum FireVEST scholarship cumulative grade point average of 2.00 for the duration of the recipient’s studies; and
- repaying a portion of the scholarship if service and academic requirements are not met.
Scholarship Application Requirements & Selection Criteria
Annual Application Deadlines:
- postmarked by May 15 for Fall term start
- postmarked by November 15 for Spring term start
Applicants must join or be a current member in good standing of an eligible volunteer fire company, complete CCAC’s admissions process, including filing for financial aid and be accepted for enrollment into the college.
Applicants must also complete the FireVEST application process, sending all materials to the Fire Academy using the address on the first page of the application. These materials include the scholarship application packet, volunteer service commitment agreement (signed by the sponsoring agency), application checklist and training timeline, and a letter of reference.
The FireVEST Advisory Board will review all nominations and other forms to assess scholarship eligibility and to determine scholarship recipients. Being accepted into membership of the sponsoring agency (volunteer fire company) and/or being accepted for enrollment at CCAC does not guarantee the student will be awarded a scholarship under the FireVEST program nor does it guarantee acceptance into limited enrollment CCAC programs. Instead, the recruitment needs of the sponsoring agencies are the first priority when selecting scholarship recipients.