Supes Earmark $800K Toward Hemet Youth Firefighting Program

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Federal relief funds provided to Riverside County will support Hemet youth program encouraging participants to pursue fire service careers.

HEMET, CA — Riverside County supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved the allocation of $796,680 in federal relief funds to support a Hemet youth program aimed at encouraging participants to pursue fire service or related careers.

“I applaud (county Housing & Workforce Solutions) for making this happen,” Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said. “A community fire cadet program is something we don’t have much of in the county for young men and women looking for a public safety career. I thank everybody for making this happen.”

Housing & Workforce Solutions sought the allotment of American Rescue Plan Act funds for expansion and further development of the existing Hemet Community Fire Cadet Program.

Supervisor Yxstian Gutierrez, whose Fifth District encompasses Hemet and San Jacinto, is a major supporter of the program, which he described as an effort to encourage high schoolers and college-age residents to “explore opportunities in public safety.”

“The program will impact the county as a whole, as the youth (who) complete it will have the opportunity to … become viable candidates to fill vacant public safety positions throughout the county,” according to an HWS statement.

The county will enter into a roughly 30-month contract with the Hemet Fire Department to expand its Community Fire Cadet Program, offering up to 60 participants paid internship training opportunities, in courses that run about eight weeks long.

The contract will expire in December 2026.

“The partnership with the (fire department) will provide vocational training assistance and direct connection to established vocational training programs that offer further training and preparation to become an emergency medical technician, firefighter or paramedic,” HWS said.

The amounts slated to be paid to those who qualify for the program were not specified.

The board appropriated $6.2 million in ARPA funds to HWS for a range of uses.

In 2021, the county received $480 million in ARPA money and almost $500 million in 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act allocations.

The funds have been used for homeless and rental assistance programs, along with other social welfare efforts, but they’ve also been appropriated for capital improvement projects.

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