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First responder hiring fair comes to Pinellas County

St Petersburg Fire Rescue.png
Posted at 5:53 AM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 15:55:18-04

PINELLAS COUNTY — Police, fire and paramedics are looking at serious staffing shortages nationwide. In Pinellas County alone, they are looking to fill more than 200 job openings.

This week Career Source Pinellas is trying something new, a first responder hiring fair.

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue will be among more than 30 first responder agencies being represented at the August 4 event.

The department said things like training are important, but actually, the number one thing they are looking for is character.

“Someone who is going to be trustworthy, someone who is going to be able to walk into somebody’s house that's a stranger that you’re there to help,” said Lt. Garth Swingle, spokesperson for St. Pete Fire Rescue.

St. Pete Fire Rescue said it's down about 10 positions right now. The Department of Juvenile Justice is down close to 100 positions county wide, according to Career Source Pinellas.

“We originally called it the great resignation, and it’s really the great migration, people have moved to different types of industries, and the folks aren’t coming back right now,” said Career Source Pinellas COO Kristopher Lucas.

Lucas said this hiring fair gives people a chance to learn first hand, from our men and women in uniform, what kinds of positions are available and what they are looking for in a candidate.

“This allows you a way to get face to face with the people who do it, and the people who know about it, and they can find a way to get you into their organization,” said Lucas.

St. Peterburg Fire Rescue said if you ever wondered if you have what it takes, this is the time to find out.

“Getting just the knowledge out there, the information of exactly what we do and how we do it, and the normal day to day life, what’s it like,” said Swingle.

As veterans of 30 to 40 years retire, it’s important their replacements are able to step into their shoes, or in this case, boots.

“We want to see that newer generation come up and have them come together and be part of our family because we are more than just a career; we’re a family,” said Swingle.

However, the department also said there’s no such thing as an ideal job candidate, everyone who shows interest will receive that same interest in return.

“We are looking for a diverse department that will reflect our diverse community that we have,” said Swingle.

The hiring fair takes place Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Largo Central Park Performing Arts Center.

For more information, click here.