Public Service Academy Career Exploration

Published on January 11, 2023

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The City of Gainesville will host a career exploration fair to roll out a new education program for area youth and young adults interested in public service professions.

When: Saturday, Jan. 14 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Where: 700 block of NW Sixth Street, Gainesville

At the event, attendees will learn about the new Public Service Academy (PSA), a pilot program the City of Gainesville has designed to provide students with a solid foundation in communications, first aid and emergency management. Graduates of the PSA program will be on track to continue the education and training necessary for positions at Gainesville Fire Rescue (GFR), Gainesville Police Department (GPD) and Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU).

“This is a great opportunity for younger neighbors to enter public service in areas of high need: police, fire and utilities,” said Gainesville interim City Manager Cynthia W. Curry. “It’s the perfect career-builder for young people who want to give back,” she said.

Last fall, the Gainesville City Commission approved $500,000 to fund the pilot program for two years. The part-time program is offered at Santa Fe College starting in February through the collaborative efforts of the City, the college and CareerSource North Central Florida. The PSA expects to enroll 21 candidates – seven in each discipline, with qualified candidates eligible to earn an hourly stipend while enrolled.

“We invite everyone interested in a career in law enforcement, utilities or fire rescue and emergency medical services to come out Saturday, learn about the PSA program and see our bucket trucks and emergency vehicles,” said GPD Lt. Renee Guyan.

Program leaders expect the program to fill knowledge or skills gaps, and better prepare individuals who may not yet meet the requirements to enter the Police Academy or Fire College.

“The PSA program is a great step toward pursuing opportunities in fire rescue/EMS such as technical rescue specialists, HazMat technicians, SWAT medics and airport rescue firefighters, among others,” said GFR Capt. Conrade Irving III.

GRU Safety and Training Facilitator Torrey Richardson said PSA students will learn about power plant operation, wastewater treatment and the duties of lineworkers by visiting facilities and hearing about the fundamentals of jobs with the help of CareerSource and GRU staff.

“The best partnerships aren't always dependent on a mere common goal but on a shared path,” Richardson said.

Health Fair: At the event inside the Gainesville Police Department’s Hall of Heroes, there will be a showcase of some of the city’s health-related resources. Community members will have an opportunity to interact with information from Gainesville Fire Rescue’s Community Resource Paramedicine Program and Public Education, Gainesville Police Department’s Co-Responder Team, Gainesville Regional Utilities and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. We look forward to seeing our neighbors there!

For more information, contact GPD Lt. Renee Guyan at or 352-393-7783.