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An Employment Resolution for Minority Women & Single Mothers in Today’s Economy

Date: July 5 2012

By Dr. Cassi L. Fields
LeT© Corporation

According to the
National Women's Law Center, “unemployment rates for adult black women and men, adult Hispanic women and men, and single mothers have been persistently higher than for adult women or men overall throughout the recession and recovery. [Specifically,] unemployment rates are currently 10.9 percent for single mothers, 14.2 percent for adult black men, 11.4 percent for adult black women, 9.6 percent for adult Hispanic men, and 9.2 percent for adult Hispanic women.” One career option is in the Fire and Rescue industry.

Fire and Rescue Service may be a suitable occupation for many types of people, and often, there are many vacancies to fill. As local governments have reduced in size in response to decreased funding, so have career personnel in public safety positions. Career personnel positions differ from volunteer public safety positions because they are salaried positions.  Oftentimes, these positions are the first ones to be filled after a recession because they are critical to community safety.

Public safety careers are seemingly ideal choices for women and single mothers. “Employment for firefighters is expected to grow faster than average for all careers in the next decade,” according to the
Nontraditional Careers for Women and Men. While public safety jobs are a good match for many types of people, women often ignore these types of jobs. For example, these positions typically work on a shift schedule. A shift schedule is generally more flexible than a standard 40-hour work week. This allows for more flexibility in finding childcare and current women firefighters report that this is a very attractive part of the job. 
The U.S. population may have a misperception about public safety positions. They require strength and conditioning, but there is a team environment in which teammates assist others with tasks such as throwing ladders and carrying heavy equipment. Fire and rescue positions also have the added benefit of significant task variety. Employees specialize in emergency medical rescue, hazardous materials, technical rescue (like rescues from trenches or building collapses or rope rescues), hydraulics and driving apparatus. At the higher ranks, there are numerous administrative positions that are interesting such as writing grants, building fire stations, and managing fire and rescue programs.

Salaries and benefits, including pensions, for fire and rescue workers are often above the national average. Prominent female fire chief (retired), Marybeth Michos, recently said, “You won’t become rich being a fire and rescue worker, but you will lead a very comfortable life and have a very comfortable retirement.” If a woman becomes interested in pursuing these careers, they must begin their Missing Information Analysis© (MIA©), a strategy invented by the LeT© Corporation. Their
MIA© should include gathering answers to these questions:
What are the specific tasks performed by fire and rescue workers?
·         What are the specific skills, knowledge and personality characteristics required?
·         What is the organizational structure (e.g., is it friendly and open to women and diversity)?
·         What is the promotion potential?
·         What is the selection process?
·         How do I prepare for that process
·         Who will make the final selection decision? 

Applicants who come prepared with this information, should land the job.

Dr. Cassi Fields of the LeT© Corporation and Fields Consulting Group, Inc. has been supporting the Fire and Rescue Service for over 20 years. Contact her at to learn more.
 A more in-depth review of the job can be found in
Nontraditional Careers for Women and Men,.