15th Biennial Cal-JAC Conference Highlights Labor-Management Partnership

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The California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (Cal-JAC) has been the leader in apprenticeship training and recruitment for nearly four decades. Cal-JAC’s commitment to innovation has helped build a better trained and more diverse fire service, ready to tackle the ever-changing demands of the profession.

This past November, the 15th biennial Cal-JAC Conference was held in Rancho Mirage. This year’s conference saw record setting attendance with nearly 500 fire chiefs, labor presidents, training officers and sub-JAC members, all participating in workshops and trainings to continue the mission of creating excellence in the fire service.

The Cal-JAC, co-sponsored by the California Professional Firefighters and the Office of the State Fire Marshal, is the leading labor-management partnership in the fire service across the country. With a track record of significantly improving the fire service through state-of-the-art training to creative recruitment strategies and much more.

“Cal-JAC’s labor-management partnership has led to some of the most important improvements in training and safety on the job,” said CPF President Brian K. Rice. “The conference gives labor and management the opportunity to set aside rank and collaborate on making the fire service better for all Californians.”

The three-day conference featured workshops on issues including implicit bias, social media reputation management, leading teams that thrive under pressure and how to create successful peer support policies.

Keynote speaker Scott Robinson, of Cranston Firefighters, IAFF Local 1362, spoke about the peer support network that he and fellow firefighters created in response to the 2003 Station Club Fire in Warwick, Rhode Island. The horrifying incident took the lives of 100 concert goers. The peer support network Robinson created has become a model network and is still in place at his department today. Attendees also heard from California State Fire Marshal Mike Richwine, Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci and Cal-JAC Chair Dan Terry.

A highlight of the conference was the presentation of the “Partnership for Success” award to the Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department and Rancho Cucamonga Professional Firefighters, Local 2274. The award honors departments that demonstrates their commitment to the labor-management partnership that drives Cal-JAC’s mission.

Another highlight of the conference was the presentation of the “Partnership for Success” award to the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Los Angeles County Firefighters, Local 1014. The award is presented at every Cal-JAC conference to honor departments that demonstrate a special commitment to the labor-management partnership at the heart of the Cal-JAC’s mission.

By the end of the three days, attendees were equipped with resources and tools to continue to create excellence in the fire service. “Over the last four decades the partnership between labor and management has been vital to creating excellence in the fire service,” said Cal-JAC Executive Director Yvonne de la Peña. “We have grown so much and that is a good thing for the fire service. It means more collaboration between labor and management that will lead to more innovation in the fire service.”