(WJBK) - West Bloomfield Chief Gregory Flynn says he's hoping to hire as many as four new firefighters and paramedics, but recruiting in the public service sector is a challenge.
"It's a public service job - we're looking for people with servants' hearts who really want to go out and help the community at all hours in all-weather any time of day," Flynn said. "We're seeing fewer applicants and the applicants are really in the driver's seat - they have the choice of the department they want to work at.
"That wasn't the case when I got hired. You were grateful just to get to that next step."
It's a good job -- firefighters reach their top pay within four to five years at $70,000 plus benefits and retirement. But there are other advantages as well to joining this family.
"I knew I didn't want to do a desk job. I knew I didn't want to go to a four-year degree college, so I got my certificates at Oakland Community College and I'm debt free," said firefighter/paramedic Alex Heber.
Heber says training is far less expensive and takes a lot less time than a four-year college. There are a lot of other opportunities within this profession as well. Firefighters do more than fight fires.
"There's a lot of training opportunities here so if you want to be on a hazmat team, a tech rescue team - if those things interest you - you want to be an inspector anything like that - this department does a really good job assisting you in getting that training," said firefighter/paramedic Mike Starkel.
The positions posted now are for those already trained as paramedics, but not necessarily as firefighters.
"If you're a paramedic and you don't have your fire training yet, we'd like you to apply and if you're chosen we're going to send you to one of the local fire academies for your training - that's about an 11-week process and then we'll have you back here in West Bloomfield Township and put you to work on a truck," Chief Flynn said.
The chief says there will be more and more jobs opening in this field as current firefighters retire. He's encouraging people to contact their community colleges and get their training now.
"There are jobs coming and we need a workforce ready to take those jobs," he said.
For more information, http://wbtownship.org/how_do_i/apply_for/job/index.php