Augusta’s fire chief wants to create a pipeline for high school graduates to join his department


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Local students could soon have a fast track to a stable career, thanks to The Augusta Fire Department. Augusta Commissioners are on board, as well as the Richmond County Board of Education Board Members. The goal is to allow students to earn a good salary right out of high school.

“I have positions that I need to fill,” said Augusta Fire Department Fire Chief, Christopher James. “I think we can use our resources right here to fill those positions.”

The fire department is ready to help recent graduates get on the path to success, right here at home.

“They don’t have to go off somewhere else to get a job,” explained James. “We have jobs right here in our community that is very satisfying jobs that pay well.”

The fire department has partnered with the city and the school board. Students will have the chance to take the firefighter test. If they meet the requirements, they could walk right into a job after graduation. Starting pay is $33,684, plus benefits, and paid vacation time.

“The money talks for young people that age,” said RCBOE Board Member, Venus Cain. “We need to talk and stress the importance of how much they will make and the benefits that come with the job.”

Chief James says school systems are exposing children to other career paths. He believes working in emergency services is just as important.

“We like cyber, but we are saying there are other things students may want to do, and the community needs a workforce to fill those positions,” said James.

The fire chief says the latest numbers show roughly 1,000 Richmond County seniors are not going to college. He says the new program will serve as an option for those who want to advance their life and help their community.

“If we could get a few students that can be successful in this process, then be able to turn around with those students to bring them in the same high schools they came from; and say this is what happened to me. It was a good opportunity,” explained James.

Any Richmond County High School senior who wants to take the exam can find the study guide right here. The exam will begin sometime in March.

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