• 81°

New $500 scholarships for firefighters from Blue Cross Blue Shield announced

A new scholarship will help take a burden off of volunteer firefighters and firefighters-in-training. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of North Carolina Firefighter Stipend and Scholarship Program will provide stipends of $500 per term or scholarships up to $1,000 per term for eligible community college students pursuing NC Firefighter Certification courses. These funds will assist North Carolina fire and rescue departments with recruitment and retention of firefighters. The new scholarship will support the recruitment and training of individuals to achieve their Firefighter I & II certifications to increase the number of firefighters within the state. Beaufort County Community College is one of only 20 community colleges in North Carolina to offer this new scholarship.

Having firefighters obtain I and II certifications gives them the option to work at a full-time department and increases their personal safety and skill level.

“This program is vital to bring in new firefighters to the field and to get more of our current firefighters certified,” said Andrew Coccaro, director of Fire & Emergency Management Training at BCCC. “Many volunteers are already working on their certification. This is a great way for them to finish their certification, because it will make it quicker and cheaper. Instead of having to juggle a part-time job, they can just focus and get it done.”

In addition to the new scholarship ­– thanks to changes at the state level – fire training is now faster. Some classes are now combined. Whereas Beaufort used to offer a start-to-finish, cohort-based fire academy, volunteer firefighters can now take just the courses they need. “We’re offering the certification program in a linear fashion, so if they need some of the courses, we will help them,” said Coccaro. “They can jump into the series and still qualify for the scholarship to finish their certification. If they want the complete series, they can do that as well.”

The new scholarship can be used to cover the cost of textbooks and travel to campus, along with other “cost of living” expenses. Volunteer firefighters from some departments must drive an hour or more to BCCC’s campus to take classes, so this scholarship can help ease their financial burden.

“Volunteers are harder to come by,” said Coccaro. “This new funding will help people who want to do it, but have been financially strapped. This will also help put highly trained new firefighters into the field to replace firefighters retiring with 20 years of experience. We can get them to that level of expertise faster. The community will get a higher level of training. Anytime we can get firefighters to do things in a new way or a safer way, it helps them and the community.”

New students will need to affiliate with a department for training. They can contact Andrew Coccaro at 252-940-6363 or Andrew.coccaro@beaufortccc.edu to become affiliated or learn more about the scholarship and currently scheduled fire trainings. Volunteers can text BCCCFIRE to 844-326-6817 to stay informed about upcoming classes.

READ ABOUT MORE SCHOOL NEWS HERE.

RECENT HEADLINES:

Aran McDermott named to UA President’s List

University of North Carolina system to keep tuition rates

News

Memphis university sends researchers to study North Carolina earthquake

News

First responders battle house fire in Nags Head’s historic Cottage Row

News

Jackie Tillett named Dare County election director

Crime

Former NFL player sentenced to prison on drug charge

News

Officials: Inmate stabs two officers in North Carolina prison

News

Forest drops lawsuit challenging Cooper executive orders

News

‘Reporting error’ fuels 200,000 COVID testing overcount in North Carolina

News

Healthcare systems in Virginia, North Carolina plan to merge

Hyde

Swan Quarter Volunteer Fire Department reaches milestone

News

New North Carolina campaign spending rule ends practice Berger used

News

Cooper wins key ruling in COVID-19 legal fight with Forest

Crime

Kill Devil Hills shooting suspect arrested

News

Second COVID-19 related death reported in Tyrrell County

News

Coastal Villas major subdivision preliminary plat approved

News

Area COVID-19 case count update

News

Jeffrey Ackerman sworn in as Duck’s new police chief

News

Aftershock rattles North Carolina town as governor visits

News

Columbia Planning Board to meet Thursday

News

First director of N.C. government watchdog agency retiring

News

No federal relief leaves states, cities facing big deficits

News

Prosecutors recommend probation for ex-N.C. Rep. Hayes

News

DA Womble releases statement regarding death of Kitty Hawk woman

Lifestyles

Help arrives as Bertie moves forward in storm recovery

News

Nags Head Police Department seeks identity of person whose dog reportedly bit two people