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CCAC FireVEST scholarship program graduates honored by Allegheny County Council

PITTSBURGH—Allegheny County Council honored recent graduates of the Community College of Allegheny County FireVEST scholarship program during the council’s meeting on October 22 at the Allegheny County Courthouse. The eight CCAC program graduates were recognized for their academic achievements and their commitment to serve as volunteer firefighters in their respective communities for the next five years.

A partnership between CCAC, the County Executive and the Allegheny County Fire Academy, the FireVEST scholarship program provides scholarships to residents of Allegheny County who are either current volunteers or who join a volunteer fire department in Allegheny County. Individuals can join the program and receive a full scholarship to CCAC in exchange for a five-year service commitment as a volunteer firefighter within Allegheny County. Since January 2009, more than 400 Allegheny County volunteer firefighters have participated in this recruitment and retention program, whose purpose is to help keep Allegheny County’s volunteer fire companies staffed, well-trained and ready to respond.

The following CCAC FireVEST graduates were honored by Allegheny County Council:

  • Tanner Bock – Rennerdale VFD
  • Joseph Figueroa-Rivera – Monroeville VFC #1
  • Alexander Green – Rennerdale VFD
  • Tyler Hilliard – Bauerstown VFD
  • Mark Loya – Hilltop Hose Co #3
  • David Moore – Reserve VFD
  • Jacob Poznik – Aspinwall VFD
  • Sean Ronick – Broughton VFD
  • Shelby Snyir – Citizens Hose VFC #1
  • Harrison Tinney – Bower Hill VFD
  • Daniel Vaughn – Point Breeze VFC #4
  •  Kaitlyn Wichelmann – West Mifflin VFC #3

The graduates majored in programs such as Liberal Arts & Sciences, Criminal Justice & Criminology, Mechatronics, Fire Science Administration, Heating & Air Conditioning, Automotive Technology, Medical Laboratory Technician, Architectural Drafting & Design Technology and Computer Information Support Systems. Scholarship recipients can choose any CCAC degree program.

FireVEST 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. Applications for the FireVEST program are available on CCAC’s website at, search keyword “FireVEST,” or by contacting the Allegheny County Fire Academy at 412.931.3158, ext. 5. Applications for the 2020 fall term must be postmarked by May 15.

If awarded a scholarship, the recipient must meet the following obligations:

  • Serve as a volunteer firefighter for five years in Allegheny County;
  • Maintain an acceptable level of service as monitored by his or her fire department;
  • Complete required courses at the Allegheny County Fire Academy and a course in first aid and CPR;
  • Obtain Firefighter I Certification through the Allegheny County Fire Academy;
  • Maintain a minimum scholarship program cumulative grade point average of 2.00 for the duration of his or her studies; and
  • Repay a portion of the scholarship if service or academic requirements are not met.

The FireVEST Advisory Board will review all applications 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.

For additional information on the FireVEST program, contact the Allegheny County Fire Academy at 412.931.3158, ext. 5 or

  • Group poses with award
Click on photo to enlarge. Pictured are, front row (from the left): Chief Matt Brown, Allegheny County Emergency Services; Deb Killmeyer, CCAC Workforce Development; Liz Strenkowski, CCAC Boyce Campus Admissions; Cindy Kirk, Allegheny County Council; Bob Macey, Allegheny County Council; CCAC FireVEST graduate Kaitlyn Wichelmann, West Mifflin VFC #3; Nick Futules, Allegheny County Council; Bob Palmosina, Allegheny County Council; Connie Wichelmann; Mel Wichelmann; Dustin Wichelmann; and Dusten Pisarcik. In the back are Allegheny County Council members Pat Catena, Sam DeMarco, Tom Baker, Paul Klein, John DeFazio, Sue Means, Anita Prizio, Denise Ranalli-Russell, John Palmiere, Paul Zavarella and DeWitt Walton.