KCC Forest Service Workforce Training Grant Increases to $575,000

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KLAMATH FALLS – A grant from the Klamath Community College (KCC) Wildfire Workforce Development and Diversity Program through the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has been extended to five years, the amount raised to a total commitment of $575,000.

First approved in 2021, annual funding of approximately $115,000 is provided in partnership with the National Wildland Coordinating Group (NWCG) for KCC over a five-year period. The grant will be used to hire a coordinator and develop fire science courses and degrees transferable to four-year institutions with an emphasis on expanding USFS employment opportunities for minorities and underprivileged populations. served.

“We recognize as an agency that we’ve had difficulty delivering our services to everyone,” said Drag Sharp, program manager for the US Forest Service. “We have a long history of service, safety, diversity and conservation; but we recognize that there are underserved marginalized communities that have not been fully represented for a variety of reasons. What we are doing here with KCC is given its location and faculty presence, we see an opportunity to collaborate and partner and build on what was already an agreement in place to teach national wilderness courses to develop firefighters.

KCC will work closely with regional and local USFS mentors and other regional agency representatives to identify agency and community needs, course requirements, delivery capacity, and credit transferability and diplomas.

The partnership between the KCC program and USFS is part of a larger goal, according to KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez, of establishing a regional fire training center in Klamath Falls, on the KCC campus.

“This is an example of how KCC is working with the USFS to build a regional fire training center that will provide training and employment opportunities to underserved populations and ultimately contribute to our goal of a local economy. diverse,” Gutierrez said.
According to Sharp, in non-fire related positions, the USFS has seen a 40% drop in personnel over the past decade.

Sharp hopes the funding will go beyond training firefighters to address staffing shortages and provide career opportunities. He sees the development of training programs as opportunities beyond fire suppression in various areas of resource management such as biology and recreation.

A U.S. Forest Service grant for Wildland Fire Workforce Development and Diversity Training at Klamath Community College has been expanded to help better provide training and career opportunities to minorities and underserved populations.
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