HARRISBURG – To help address a serious shortage of firefighters that threatens the safety of all Pennsylvanians, the PA Senate unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Crawford County Sen. Michele Brooks that would create a pilot program for community colleges and universities in the State System of Higher Education to give interested high school students training in firefighting. Senate Bill 114 would award three grants of $150,000 each, which would be distributed to three community colleges or PASSHE schools: one in the eastern, central, and western parts of the state. The grants will be used to establish fire training programs for students in high school during the school year, with the hope they will remain firefighters for years to come. Brooks said our volunteer firefighter community is struggling with both recruitment and retention and this legislation helps to address the challenges our emergency responders are facing. In the 1970s, PA boasted 300,000 volunteer firefighters. Now, there are fewer than 37,000. The bill now moves to the PA House.