SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- The San Jose Fire Department welcomed 33 new recruits Friday, one of its largest recruitment classes ever, fire officials said.
The new recruits were welcomed Friday at a special orientation, and will start an 18-week firefighter academy program on Monday, fire Capt. Mary Gutierrez said.
They will graduate March 1, and formally join the department the following Monday.
The cost of the academy and the recruitment classes wages are being financed with a two-year $8.6-million federal grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Gutierrez said the department hopes to keep the new firefighters on staff once the grant expires through a combination of attrition and retirement.
The San Jose Fire Department currently has around 650 employees, Gutierrez said.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
for more features.