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Recruitment and Retention


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Sponsored by:
American Military University
In Public Safety
by American Military University

Catering to millennials: Challenges in recruiting volunteers for fire and EMS

Politics, financial constraints and increased educational demands contribute to a disinterest by millennials to engage in a volunteer role

By Dr. Shana Nicholson and Joseph Heaton
American Military University

What drives 20-somethings, also known as the millennial generation, is dramatically different than generation’s past. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reportedthat in 2012 volunteering hit an all-time low in the country, with the lowest volunteer hours among 20 to 24 year olds.

However, this does not reflect a decline in overall civic responsibility by this up-and-coming generation. Reports show that about 75 percent of millennials have contributed to charity in the last five years.

Millennials recognize the importance of civic responsibility, yet, the time they have available for volunteerism in public safety is decreasing due to the fast-paced professional world many crave. This deficit in available volunteers has placed a hardship on volunteer fire and emergency services departments.

Full story: Visit the In Public Safety blog

About the author

In Public Safety is an American Military University (AMU) sponsored blog that features analysis and commentary on issues relating to law enforcement, emergency management, fire services and national intelligence. This blog features in-depth discussions authored by leading experts with decades of experience in their field. To stay updated on blog posts and other news relevant to these sectors, please follow us on Facebook by “liking” AMU & APUS Public Safety Programs. You can also follow us on our sector-specific Twitter accounts: @AMUPoliceEd, @AMUFireEd, @AMUDisasterEd, @AMUIntelStudies.



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Ryan Morris Ryan Morris Thursday, August 21, 2014 10:49:29 AM In respect to the above article, it is very known that there is an over all very low number in volunteers across the country in Volunteer Fire services and volunteer EMS and rescue services . The common fact that is generating this issue of concern is that the volunteer services have become a Tyrannical controlled entity in the communities by volunteer members of the various departments who keep going to their respective town, townships and city councils demanding more equipment and more money , and reporting the decrease in expected memberships, or the failed reporting to the boards why the citizen - application for membership was denied . Its a shame and I have witnessed it first hand on different departments , It has become a hate issue and discrimination issue in the legal sense of things, and here's what I'am talking about . Joe citizen applies for membership , he waits a month or more just to hear back and be invited (If) he gets invited to a meeting to discuss membership or a denial of membership. Joe citizen shows up for his meeting and is questioned by the majority for a vote to membership , In the course of the meeting , there is discussions with some majority in the other room and its some of the majority basing their opinions and thoughts, In the course of that, questions are generated and answers are demanded right there as if Joe citizen is on trial . Some of the questions are about his child hood , Just like any child , they found themselves wondering about trying to find things to do for amusements and activities as a youth. (Just like any one in the meeting or whom is reading this post) The Joe citizen gets questioned about several things , such as activities during his/her teen years and again the majority is being forced to dislike the Joe citizen applicant , from the questions and answers and the digging of dislikes in the applicant citizen. A sense of control to the majority or a status rank or something ! So there you have it , Joe citizen applies and gets the drill put to him/her for answers, Just like each every person in that meeting they have done something that offended someone or someone knows someone that knows Joe citizen, And then Joe citizen is asked to step out of the meeting and discussions take place just like a jury does and then Joe citizen is brought back into the meeting and is denied based on opinions or past events and because a buddy down the street said that Joe citizen was bad news or had a difficult younger life and the majority holds that against Joe citizen and denies membership based off of Human nature and discrimination factors exhibited by the majority and the associates of the majority. Then the truth comes out , the majority only 1/4 of the members were or are even real certified and properly trained to fulfill the duties , and then it is known that Joe Citizen is an educated and fully certified individual to perform the tasks of the specific department and letters of recommendation followed his application to membership from Commissioners , High ranking volunteers from other departments where Joe Citizen had served prior to, have been all over ruled by a tyrannical group/Majority basing their opinions without ever giving a chance , Thats what a probation period is for to determine out of new members , Who is worthy of the duty and who is only there to have a status in life. The truth behind WHY volunteer departments and groups struggle so much in memberships and having full rosters of staff . Is based from the above article and this post, Age is discriminated and opinions have become factual with out any true understanding or real evaluation of the Joe citizen other than he/she had been in trouble once or twice with several years of good since then. No wonder Volunteer EMS/FIRE and RESCUE have such a struggle in getting members and keeping rosters full , They play judge and they make games of it, I've seen it firsthand and its a shame, to hear that the volunteer group or Department is always gripping about memberships and not having enough man power on scene. Stop choosing to put your family on or their friends and or the neighbor who mows your grass , Start accepting the volunteer for what it truly is and intended for . You yourself DID NOT develop the Volunteer. The VOLUNTEER is a citizen who steps forward to offer their time, gas, and abilities to serve in the time of crisis , If that person messes up , That's what a court room is for and that's what it was made for, Not for you to dictate and play tyrannical status with or with peoples lives. Its a shame any more. and there's no excuses unless Joe citizen is a convicted serious violent felon of some sort. 17 yr veteran EMT/FF and rescue tech speaks up!

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