b'STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE SEVEN The capability to recruit, retain, and train a qualified and diverse workforce has become an increasingly difficult task, requiring additional resources.Fire and emergency services requires capable, effective, and trusted personnel to meet the expanding needs and changing demographics of our communities. To sustain effective and safe operations, recruitment and retention of a qualified workforce is paramount. Maintaining proper staffing has become a difficult and expensive process. Additional resources, data, and research are required to overcome these challenges. BackgroundRecruitment and retention of a successful workforce (career, volunteer, or combination), to include underrepresented persons, has reached a crisis point. Fire and emergency services departments are having difficulty staffing and maintaining effective response to meet the needs of the community. Nationally, volunteer fire fighter membership has declined substantially over the past few decades. Emphasis needs to be placed on a national recruitment and retention effort, that is attractive to a diverse applicant pool. By failing to reach out to all potential applicants, a large segment of the population is not seriously considered for membership.Comparable jobs in the private sector are often more attractive and rewarding as compared to career fire fighter positions. Salary and benefit disparity are a significant deterrent to the recruitment and hiring process. Work schedules, staffing, and deployment models should be continually examined to reflect the needs of the community and the ability to attract qualified applicants.14'