Fire service training administration to be moved to Idaho Division of Career Technical Education

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During the State Board of Education’s Aug. 26, board meeting, Idaho Division of Career Technical Education (IDCTE) State Administrator Clay Long announced that they intend to transfer Fire Service Training (FST) from the College of Eastern Idaho (CEI) to IDCTE in July 2021.

FST provides fire training credentialing for career and volunteer firefighters in Idaho. Credentialing is the certification process for firefighters after they have completed an approved fire service training course. Many municipal fire departments require firefighter credentialing to even test for a position.

CEI had administered FST since 2014 when the FST program was transferred to the technical college system to gain efficiencies. During that time, CEI secured more than $1 million in federal grant funding to purchase state-of-the-art fire training equipment to support ongoing skills development for more than 180 Idaho fire departments.

The proposed change will ensure Idaho’s FST provides a statewide system that allows institutions to meet the needs of their region and industry. FST will use IDCTE’s existing SkillStack® system for student record management, and institutions will have the flexibility to deliver needed training to their region. FST will continue to provide training and services for regions without fire training programs at their technical colleges.

“Over the years, CEI has made significant progress in administering FST. I am excited to build on that success and leverage IDCTE’s existing statewide framework to ensure access to training and certification for all individuals who serve in the fire service in Idaho,” said Long.

Travis Myklebust, fire chief for the Lewiston Fire Department and president of the Idaho Fire Chiefs Association Board, supports the change.

“The Idaho Fire Chief’s Association is excited about collaborating with IDCTE. We feel this is the best move to ensure career and volunteer firefighters in Idaho are safe, educated, and able to respond to emergencies,” said Myklebust.

Myklebust added that collaboration with IDCTE would foster relationships with regional colleges to provide education and keep students in Idaho to serve their local fire departments.

The decision also has the support of CEI.

“We look forward to working with IDCTE to transition this important training program back to the state to provide further efficiencies and access by both professional firefighters and students,” said Michelle Holt, executive director of the Workforce Training and Continuing Education Center at CEI. The decision was made after several months of conversations with a variety of stakeholders, including CEI, the College of Southern Idaho, the Technical College Leadership Council, the Idaho Fire Chiefs Association, and the State Board of Education. In the coming months, IDCTE will work closely with these stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition and minimal disruptions. A copy of the memo announcing the change was sent to stakeholders.