GREENWOOD, SC (WSPA) – Piedmont Technical College is launching a new fire science certificate program this fall. The first course here starts in August.
Piedmont Tech executives said the course comes at a critical time.
“I think overall, with our first responders, we’re seeing a shortage in all of those areas,” said Tara Gonce, dean of the healthcare division.
Leaders said this course also targets younger students who will spend more time in the job market.
“A lot of our firefighters are aging right now, so it’s a great program for us to get some of these new grads to fill in those areas,” Gonce said.
In the program, students will learn a variety of skills and techniques, including safety practices.
“Not just the behavior of fire, and the best tools and techniques to be able to put out a fire in different situations, whether it’s internal structures or vehicle fires or things like that,” said Jess Mundy, responsible for the program for health care and continuing education. division. “They will learn how to handle different types of fire field situations by working together.”
Leaders said a key element in creating this program was a partnership with the Northwest Volunteer Fire Department.
“They provide what we would call a lab space or a space for our students to practice their skills, as well as a place for them to learn how to put out fires in real life,” Mundy said.
By working with the department, students will also gain hands-on experience.
“They have several pieces of equipment that will be used during our program and during our studies that are critical to the success of our students,” Mundy said.
The program is also available to Greenwood School District 50 students who are dual-enrolled at Piedmont Technical College. Piedmont Tech executives said funding is currently available for many students and programs. People who live in South Carolina can also take classes for free throughout the summer.