Alabaster Fire Department begins third year of internship program

Published 7:43 am Friday, January 19, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – The Alabaster Fire Department is currently working with its third year of  internship candidates from Thompson High School—two of which will have a future serving their fellow residents after being offered internships as firefighters for the city of Alabaster.

Each year, the Alabaster Fire Department works with Alabaster City Schools to recruit candidates for the AFD’s internship program.

“We recruit students that might be interested in this type of work and in municipal government,” Alabaster Fire Chief Tim Love said. “We realize that there is a wealth of knowledge and talent that we can pull from our schools and what better if we can help kids that are born and raised (and) go to school here (to) look for a job right here in the city.”

Nine THS seniors have recently been undergoing testing for the AFD’s internship program which includes a written and physical component.

“We put them through the exact same hiring process we do for regular hires,” Love said.

On Jan. 11, several candidates completed the department’s physical fitness test at the Shelby County Fire Training Center in Calera. The results of which will be combined with the written test to determine who will be selected for the internship.

“There’s nothing hidden here in the way we hire and the way we promote,” Love said. “We go through a complete, objective-based test. Everyone who comes out on top gets the job.”

The program initially came about thanks to the support of Alabaster Mayor Scott Brakefield.

“When Mayor Brakefield (came into office), that was one of the first things that he said, ‘Hey, we need to do this,’” Love said. “He’s a big proponent of the school system and we’re sitting over there with a  couple thousand kids that we can recruit from every year. They’re right here, and they’re in our city. Why shouldn’t we recruit from our own.”

The program gives an opportunity for students to form a career, but it doesn’t end there as the AFD also emphasizes further education.

“We really encourage all of our staff as they get the main technical education to continue on and finish up with a college education,” Love said. “How great is it that you can be working full time and going to school at the same time.”

Once the results from both tests are in and background checks are performed, the AFD hopes to get into orientation and the working process by mid-February and then the chosen two interns will work until June.

“We’re seeing it grow more and more each year,” Love said. “I think the schools found it to be beneficial to them (and) that this is another way that they can give kids another direction to go (so) they can build a career.”