TITUSVILLE, Fla. — Brevard County continues to see success with a training program designed to recruit firefighters and paramedics.

One firefighter who was inspired by his father said he enjoys helping others in an area he knows well.

“He always said how fun it was, and I saw how much fun he had at work the times I went to see him," said Marcus Braga as he geared up for another shift at Brevard County Fire Rescue Station 24 in Titusville. "Yeah, I figured I’d just keep it in the family.”

Braga started his firefighting career two years ago when he was 17 and a senior at Melbourne High School.

He’s been on the job professionally since May 2023.

Braga took advantage of Brevard County Fire and Rescue's sponsorship program, which provides funding for recruits to attend Eastern Florida State emergency medical technician and fire academies.

The 492-hour training is fully paid, with the promise of employment at the end.

So far, 35 local sponsorships have been awarded, and all the recipients now work for Brevard County Fire Rescue.

Those interested in applying must submit an interest card on the Brevard County Fire Rescue website by March 29. 

“People who are attracted to this career path are folks that want to help others, give back to their community and be of service to the county they are from,” Brevard County Fire Rescue recruiter Annette Berrios said.

She said the need for more first responders is there.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows more than 26,000 firefighter/paramedic openings nationwide each year until about 2030.

The demand is attributed to injuries, job transfers and retirement.