California Professional Firefighters

Firefighter Apprenticeship Funding Gets Big Boost in Governor's Proposed Budget

The catastrophic fires that closed 2017 are stark reminders of why California firefighters need to stay the best trained in the world. This week, Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal reflected this stark reality by proposing a sizable boost in funding for apprenticeship.

Thanks to relentless efforts of CPF’s legislative team and numerous meetings with the governor and his administration, the 2018-2019 state budget allocates nearly $50 million to bolster apprenticeship programs in the fire service and building trades.

A significant chunk of those dollars are proposed to be allocated directly to California’s fire departments through the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (Cal-JAC). The proposal will also aid important apprenticeship efforts in the building trades, helping to build a skilled workforce for the jobs of the future.

“Now more than ever, sophisticated and relevant training is essential, and Cal-JAC is the gold standard in our profession,” said CPF President Lou Paulson. “We’ve been in the governor’s ear on this for a long time and are gratified to see he’s listened and made training a top priority.”

The budget proposal includes funding to ensure reimbursement for training to 166 Cal-JAC affiliated departments in the state. It also provides a one-time funding allocation to cover dollars that were not available in past years because of funding shortages resulting from the Great Recession.

In addition to its direct advocacy, CPF worked with fire chiefs around the state to contribute letters to the administration, urging them to make apprenticeship training a priority. Continued grassroots support is critical to ensure this proposal is adopted by the Legislature and signed by the governor in the final budget bill.

“This is great news, but now the challenge is getting these funds approved by the Legislature itself,” said Paulson. “Cal-JAC is an immeasurable asset to the fire service. We plan to keep the pressure on to ensure this priority is met.

Established in 1982, the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee is the pre-eminent labor-management firefighter training partnership, co-chaired by California Professional Firefighters and the California State Fire Marshal.