GCC Partners with City of New Haven to Help Recruit Best Firefighters

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An exciting partnership between Gateway Community College (GCC) and the city of New Haven was developed to help the city recruit the best possible candidates to fill entry-level positions within their fire department. As part of the collaboration, about 400 aspiring entry-level firefighters have enrolled in a firefighter test orientation course at Gateway. Gateway also has designed a First Responder Fitness class to help people get into the physical shape needed to be ready to take on the fitness portion of any first responder exam.

GCC is running four different week-long sessions – available at four different times of the day and evening to best accommodate all those who want to take part. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, said Vicki Bozzuto, GCC’s dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education. 

“We are very proud to be working in partnership with the city of New Haven,” Bozzuto said.  

The entry-level entry-level firefighter test orientation course is an intensive 20-hour course over five days, Monday through Friday, culminating in a simulated test day. It is designed to specifically orient students to the type of material they may encounter should they opt to take the actual written test to apply for a city of New Haven firefighter position. The course covers arithmetic, reading comprehension, tools and mechanical knowledge and spacial perception. 

This month, GCC also offered its first ever First Responder Fitness course designed for those who are applying for a public safety position and need to get ready for the physical test. Part of the application process for public safety positions typically includes rigorous testing of physical agility and overall physical fitness.   

GCC’s unique four-week First Responder Fitness conditioning course is specifically designed to increase the participants’ muscle strength, aerobic capacity and flexibility.  The training is closely aligned with first responder fitness test requirements.  The program’s exercise and workouts mimic the events in a physical abilities test and prepare the participants for the demands of a career in emergency response, whether it’s dragging 165 pounds or carrying 75 pounds of gear up flights of stairs.

GCC hopes to offer two more sessions of the First Responder Fitness course this spring and summer, due to the popularity of the course. This program was designed to increase all aspects of fitness including anaerobic, endurance, strength, power, flexibility, balance and coordination. Students have been doing calisthenics, drag and carry exercises, sledge hammer work, as well as weighted exercise.  

GCC is a superb resource for such a course, as the Exercise Science and Wellness Program was recently awarded certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Education Recognition Program.