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Idaho’s certified training program for firefighters will no longer be managed through the College of Eastern Idaho.

The Idaho Division of Career Technical Education announced during a State Board of Education meeting Wednesday that it would take over the operations and administrative needs for the fire service training program.

The training program is the official course for paid and volunteer firefighters in Idaho to be accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress. Management of the training program had been moved from Boise to the college in 2014, when it was still known as Eastern Idaho Technical College, but was still done on behalf of the state and paid for through state career tech funds.

Clay Long, state administrator of the Career Technical Education program, said part of the reason for the change was the expansion of firefighting courses offered by other Idaho colleges. Changes within the state career and technical department also established a team that would manage any federal training or apprenticeship programs in Idaho.

“This change provides a natural framework to leverage those resources from a statewide approach, instead of leaving it to institutions,” Long said.

In its administrative role, the College of Eastern Idaho organized training sessions with fire departments across the state to certify new firefighters or renew current ones as needed. CEI leaders also received more than $1 million in grants for improved fire training equipment, including a fire training trailer that will arrive at the college in the next few weeks.

“It’s been quite the advantage. We enjoyed the locality of the training being at CEI, but we support the move, and we look forward to a continued relationship with that fire training,” Idaho Falls Fire Chief Duane Nelson said.

CEI has not offered a degree program or classes on firefighting to students to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest with the state program. Michelle Holt, CEI’s director of workforce training and continuing education, said the college could launch those classes after the handover is made but that any addition would not come in the near future.

While the official handover for the training program has begun, upcoming fire training events will still be managed through the college until the summer of 2021.

Brennen is the main education reporter for the Post Register. Contact him with news tips at 208-542-6711.