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(Beloit, WI) Whitney Helm Beloit Daily News

A little more than six months into her Town of Beloit Fire Department internship, Pauline Schork said she’s already experienced her first fire call and her first code blue in the same week.

Last week the department responded to a car crash.

“It was a really difficult call,” Schork said. “I learned a lot on that call. It was interesting seeing the way everyone interacted from the scene to the hospital.”

The new internship program began in January and is a partnership between Milton, Edgerton and Clinton fire departments as well as the Town of Beloit Fire Department.

Schork and other interns get to experience everything that a full-time firefighter would, including fire calls and ambulance runs.

“They do everything from scrubbing the toilets in the morning to the fire calls,” said Town of Beloit Fire Chief Gene Wright. “They’re also getting mentoring and learning those soft skills that you don’t learn in a textbook.”

The four departments started with a pool of 10 interns.

The program was initially slated to only accept students enrolled in technical colleges, like Blackhawk Technical College, but Wright said the decision was made to widen the scope to former students. Each intern is staying with their sponsoring department for a year and then rotating to a different department. There were four slated at the Town of Beloit department, however, the department is now down to two interns.

Wright said the decrease is a good thing.

“We had some really good people that after being here decided that this wasn’t the job for them,” Wright said. “I think that’s just as an important of a lesson as finding what you want to do.”

The program has also inspired a regional hiring process, where an applicant could complete applications for several departments in the area. Wright said that application process should be available in the fall.

The next round of interns will be able to apply for the program in August.

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