The Daily Express

Owens Community College and Ohio Fire Academy Form Partnership

Owens Community College and the Ohio Fire Academy are entering into a unique agreement, allowing fire academy students to earn an associate's degree, while simultaneously receiving instructional training. With this agreement, Owens becomes the first higher educational institution in the state of Ohio to offer any type of degree program to fire academy students.

The official signing of the agreement by Owens Community College President Christa Adams, Ph.D., and State Fire Marshal Robert R. Rielage will occur at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 25 on the front lawn of Owens' Fire Science/Law Enforcement Center. The College's Toledo-area Campus is on Oregon Road, which is located four miles from Downtown Toledo.

The College also will welcome Gerald F. Robinson, Deputy Superintendent of the Ohio Fire Academy, as well as fire chiefs and emergency medical service representatives from the surrounding communities to attend the special ceremony.

"The development of this partnership between Owens Community College and the Ohio Fire Academy will enhance training opportunities for firefighters throughout the state of Ohio," said Dr. Paul Unger, Provost of Owens Community College. "We are proud to provide the necessary educational and training services to meet the demands for individuals working as a volunteer, part-time or full-time fire or emergency medical personnel."

Of the more than 43,000 career and volunteer firefighters within the state of Ohio, nearly 5,000 individuals are currently taking classes at state educational institutions in pursuit of their associate's degree in fire science technology.

"The Ohio Fire Academy firmly believes training and education for firefighters is a continuous process," said State Fire Marshal Robert R. Rielage. "Owens Community College will provide our students with an excellent opportunity to elevate their skill level, and we are pleased to be in a partnership with them."

According to George Coxey, Owens Chair of Criminal Justice/Fire Science Technologies, course work earned by Ohio Fire Academy students will apply toward an associate's degree at Owens in Fire Science Technology.

"Ohio Fire Academy students will have the opportunity to take the remaining credit requirements, for their associate's degree, through distance learning courses or by attending classes on the College's Toledo-area or Findlay-area campuses," Coxey said.

The Owens Fire Science program was established in Fall 1969 for students interested in a career in fire prevention, fire protection or fire fighting. The associate degree program requires a total of 72 credit hours, while a Fire Officer Certificate is 29 credit hours. During the Fall Semester 2002, approximately 342 students are enrolled in the College's Fire Science program or are receiving instructional training.

According to Provost Unger, the College also is in the exploratory stages of creating a new Fire and Police Training Center.

The proposed Fire and Police Training Center would include training facilities such as a pursuit track, skid pads, driving/handling road course, burn building, fire tower, car burn area, fuel spill area, control tower and a maintenance building. The possibility also exists for the addition of a rail spur and other transportation-related emergency sites. The Center would be located on a vacant 69-acre parcel on the Toledo-area Campus bounded by Walbridge Road, Tracy Road and railroad tracks.

This new facility would serve a population of 1,500 to 2,000 students from the College, public service technologies, as well as many police and volunteer fire agencies in Northwest Ohio.

The Ohio Fire Academy is located in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, and currently provides career certification for 250 students within the Fire Fighter I and II program.

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing community college of its size in the nation. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 38,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for new college students in Northwest Ohio. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 140 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.

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Last modified on: Monday, September 23, 2002
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