Youngstown (OH) Educational Center Trains Local Youths to Become Firefighters

By Kristy L Olinik

I am an instructor at Youngstown Choffin Career and Technical Center in Youngstown, Ohio. In 2013, we added public safety and criminal justice to our school curriculum for Junior and Seniors that attend Youngstown City Schools. In 2014, with the assistance of the Youngstown Fire Department as our charter, and the need to have public service jobs in the city filled with city residents, Choffin Career and Technical Center began to add Level I and Level II fire certification to the public safety course.

Its the mission of Choffin Career & Technical Center to develop individuals with technical, scholastic, employability, and life skills that enable them to exercise options in becoming responsible citizens, productive employees, and life-long learners in cooperation with business, industry, and other community resources. Seniors get hands-on experience with training from our local fire department and certify to become job-ready upon graduation.


Just as our area career tech schools have a well-established program, I am looking to mirror their success and educate our students with employability and hands on experience to not only see the future that awaits them but give them a reason to excel in school, graduate, and see a future they may not see now.

I am determined to make a difference, especially in Youngstown City where  there are such bright students. This program gives those students the ability to have a career out of high school upon graduation, and a future.

I know equipment for this task can be costly. All of our students receive free lunch and majorities are from low income families that attend Choffin. I have big dreams in the future for this program (I would love to have our own fire truck, burn house, etc). However, any assistance with training equipment is still a great start. I want to make these kids feel like they are a part of something that makes a difference in Youngstown and show the city and the community that Youngstown city school students are and will have a success story!

Any help you might be able to offer would be most be appreciated.

Kristy L Olinik is the public safety instructor for the Choffin Career and Technical Center in Youngstown, Ohio.