Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation recruits high school girls

The Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation is accepting high school girls into a special training camp. It's geared at grooming more young women into fire fighters and is part of the foundation's larger mission to help interested high school students start a job right out of school.

"Growing up I didn't really have that thing I wanted to do. Some people say 'I want to be a doctor,' or 'I want to be a lawyer.' I didn’t have that thing," Laquincia Smith said.

Everyone has that one thing that sets their soul on fire. Nineteen-year-old Smith stumbled upon hers.

"I thought I wanted to be a paramedic. I didn't know how I could best do that," she said.

So, when a guidance counselor at Drew Charter School suggested Laquincia try "Camp Ignite" she thought it would help her learn more about health care.

"I had no idea Camp Ignite was about being a firefighter," she said.

Nearly three years later, Smith is paid to complete her firefighter training.

"She is our first hire from the very first Camp Ignite," AFRF Executive Director Shirley Anne Smith said.

Camp Ignite is a three-day program that gives high school girls a taste of what it takes to be a firefighter.

Nationwide, only about 5% of firefighters are women.

Camp Ignite attendees can sign up for the Cadet academy.

"The foundation takes on the responsibility of getting them ready for the [final] test," the executive director said. "The cadet program shows them that test."

Once completed, students receive conditional job offers from the city of Atlanta, making $46,000 annually, with benefits.

"Our job is to make sure you have a job waiting for you after high school. So there's no need to say 'what's next'" Shirley Anne Smith explained.

Both Camp Ignite and the Cadet program are open to any metro Atlanta area students. The next camp is in October over most school districts' fall break. For more information, click here.