Jose Ramirez

Jose Ramirez always knew he wanted to help his community. “When I was in high school, I took Intro to Public Safety with Ms. Gordon. It was a class with the Evanston Police Department and the Evanston Fire Department. And I already had an idea that I wanted to help people and help my community,” he says. “The whole idea just inspired me and pushed me more to go for a career in public service.” Jose knew fire science would be a great fit for his interests. However, landing a job as a firefighter is sometimes like winning the lottery—it takes a lot of hard work and extensive training.

Jose is taking his first step toward his dream career through a tuition-free firefighter apprenticeship program created by Oakton and the City of Evanston Fire Department. The program provides the opportunity for Evanston residents to complete Oakton’s Basics of Fire Fighting Certificate, Fire Science Technology Certificate, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certificate and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Fire Science Technology while working in an apprenticeship with the Evanston Fire Department. 

By the time he graduates from the Oakton program, Jose will have more than 3,000 hours of work experience and will be ready to test for a full-time appointment as a local firefighter/paramedic.