Ventura Training Center

Firefighter Training & Reentry Program

The Ventura Training Center is a unique innovative program and collaboration between CAL FIRE, DAPO, CCC & ARC. It is an 18-month residential program that gives opportunity to previously incarcerated individuals for the following: Rehabilitation Life Skills Job Readiness Professional Experience Firefighter Training & Certifications and Much More!

Our Mission

To train and develop participants for careers in firefighting, providing emergency response, and resource conservation while enhancing rehabilitative efforts in the State of California.

Life Skills & Human Development

Ventura Training Center offers support in the following life skills, health & wellness, education and human development: Self- Help Meetings 1- On- 1 Counseling Behavioral Services Life Skills Workshops Tutoring Money and Time Management AB 2147/ Discharge Support Computer Literacy Classes Tattoo Removal Educational Opportunities; HS Diploma, College Courses


The VTC Participants receive training in: Wildland Firefighting Leadership Public Safety First Aid Hazardous Materials Response Structural Firefighting Rescue

Job & Life Experience

Gain experience on an elite fire crew Become a professional Firefighter Respond to emergency incidents Train weekly on all risk firefighting Work with a team Learn how to be a leader Conduct fuel reduction projects Attend weekly life skills classes Become a part of a mentorship program Learn how to become an effective communicator Learn how to be a productive, proactive, producing member of society.

Pay & Benefits

Monthly paid stipend $2265 (Beginning October 2021) plus emergency excess pay while fighting fires Medical insurance benefits


Enrolled: 344
Total Jobs to Date: 206


Impact Story

Robert Shank

I recently graduated from the Ventura Training Center in Camarillo, California. Reflecting on my journey, I recognize the impact of past decisions on my life and feel a strong sense of indebtedness to the community. The program was incredibly challenging, testing me emotionally, physically, and mentally. However, the feeling of accomplishment upon completion is indescribable. This is just the first step in my journey, and despite my age, I’m determined to pursue a long career with Cal Fire. I want to encourage others, regardless of age, to join this program and give it their all. I’ve already accepted a job with Cal Fire, and I’m eagerly looking forward to starting.

Guillermo Figueroa

Raised in Southern California, I did trade jobs like construction mechanic. Though firefighting wasn’t in my plans, attending the Ventura Training Center changed everything. It’s given me a bright future for my boys and filled me with pride. Despite past mistakes and incarceration, I seized the chance to become a professional firefighter after serving as an inmate firefighter. The bonds with my fellow firefighters are unparalleled—I’d lay down my life for them. Now, I’m set to start as a inspector in Monterey’s B unit, a step toward my goal of joining Cal Fire.

Carlos Gallegos

I’m doing fire work now because it has given me self confidence and self worth that I feel I used to lack. Nowadays I hold my head up high and take pride in everything I do because what I do has value that I truly appreciate. I’m no longer hurting the community, I’m giving back to it. I’m constantly humbled when I see my friends, family and strangers and they thank me for my service. I get a bit embarrassed by it to be honest.

Numbers & Successes

Enrolled in the program
Graduates with jobs

How to Join

Minimum Requirements to Apply:

For an individual to be considered for our program, they need to fill out and follow the instructions on form CDCR 2238. The application requires the recommendation and signature from Cal Fire Chief/LA County Fire Dept. Chief and CDCR Lt. All applications are screened, scored, and ranked (first, second and third). The recommendations from the camp/CDCR fire house are heavily taken into consideration. We then select the highest scoring individuals (usually ranked first or second) for the program. Those selected are also vetted by all agencies at the center.

– Paroling from a camp/CDCR fire house on the current commitment offense

– Have a TABE score 9 or above, if not, a high school diploma or GED

Ventura Training Center Partners:

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