Meet Michael

Story submitted by: Southeast Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board

Workforce Challenge

Four years ago, Michael pursued a dream to become a fireman in southern California. He started as a volunteer firefighter in central California and eventually was hired as a seasonal firefighter with CalFire, in San Diego County. The next two years, he spent nine months out of each year traveling throughout the state fighting massive wildfires. The pay was hardly enough to support himself, and every year he was laid off without knowing if he would be hired again for the next fire season.

Workforce Solution

“After being laid off for the second time in two years, I researched and found federally funded training centers that helped the unemployed pursue job training and education. I contacted my local SELACO WIB career center and was scheduled to come in and take a placement test and to discuss what it was I wanted to do for a career. My career counselor guided me to paramedic programs in the area and discussed the vast resources the career center had to offer the unemployed. Interview training, résumé building, and job searching techniques were just some of the resources I had available to help prepare me to compete against the thousands of applicants fire departments receive when they have positions for hire.”

Outcomes & Benefits

“I was approved for funding for paramedic school by the SELACO WIB, and within four months I started paramedic training. I applied for firefighter/paramedic positions that I could not apply to before I had started school. One of those was with the Santa Monica Fire Department. I am now on my way to pursuing my dream career in a dream city. I am grateful for the relentless efforts by the employees at SELACO WIB to help make me the best, most well-educated and prepared job candidate I could possibly be.”

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