MORRIS COUNTY — Legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Pennacchio that would provide course credits for high school students who become volunteer firefighters was approved by the Senate Education Committee.
“New Jersey is suffering from a severe shortage of first responders, and firefighters are no exception,” said Pennacchio (R-26). “By incentivizing high school students to become volunteer firefighters in their municipalities, students can earn credits to meet certain graduation requirements. This legislation provides an innovative solution to reduce New Jersey’s firefighter shortage and promotes educational opportunities for students outside of the classroom.”
Senator Pennacchio’s bill, S-3901, would permit students to be eligible for credits in health, safety, and physical education for successfully completing a course at a county fire academy, provided they meet certain criteria.
To receive credits, a student must be between 16 and 18 years old, must also complete an examination to become a junior firefighter, or equivalent, and must volunteer at their local fire department for a period of two years.
“Firefighting is a skilled profession that is necessary to ensure the safety of our communities,” Pennacchio added. “This bill enables students to receive their education while simultaneously serving as vital public servants.”