Goshen announces Fire and EMS Pathway for high schoolers

NOW: Goshen announces Fire and EMS Pathway for high schoolers

GOSHEN, Ind. -- A lot of industries are facing a shortage of workers, but when it comes to first responders, that shortage could be the difference between life and death. Goshen Community Schools announced a partnership with the city to create a Fire and EMS Pathway program for high school students.

"If I would've had this program when I was in high school, this would have been awesome," said Assistant Chief Anthony Powell with the Goshen Fire Department.

"This definitely would've been something I would've chosen in school because college wasn't for me," said Division Chief of Education, Travis Peak.

Peak will instruct the two-year program available to juniors and seniors.

"I've had a dream my entire career of retiring and going to someone's fire academy actually and teaching. And it's actually happening in my hometown," Peak said. "And I get to make an impact on kids' lives."

The program, taught at Goshen's Career and Technical Education center, which used to be Chandler Elementary will cover all classroom curricula as well as hands-on training.

"Rolling a hose to throwing a ladder to actually doing live fire training with the kids," Peak said.

Students who complete the full program will graduate with an associate degree from Ivy Tech.

"When they are graduated, they are ready to be hired by the Goshen Fire Department," said Cathy Demeyer, principal of Goshen High School.

Goshen's pathway programs show students they have options outside of traditional college, and it also helps replenish the local pool of first responders who, across the nation, are understaffed.

"20 years ago, you would get 85 applicants, 50 would pass the written test, and then 25 would pass the physical agility. Now, we're lucky if we get 15 that apply," Powell said.

The program starts in the 2024-2025 school year.

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