CHARLOTTE, Mich., Nov. 13, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The founding sponsor of the National Junior Firefighter Program, Spartan Motors, Inc. (Nasdaq:SPAR) ("Spartan" or the "Company") has renewed its partnership for the eighth year with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) to assist in preparing the future of the fire service.

Departments are finding it difficult to attract younger members due to a range of reasons, including increased demands on people's time, longer commuting distances to and from work, the prevalence of two-income households, and increased training requirements. The recruitment and retention of volunteers has become an immediate pressing need for the fire service.

Across the nation, departments are addressing this need by establishing junior firefighter programs to begin engaging and training the next generation of firefighters. Junior firefighter programs give young people the chance to learn about local fire, rescue, and emergency medical services in a safe, controlled, educational, and fun way while providing departments with an excellent recruitment mechanism. In addition, youth gain valuable life, career, and emergency preparedness skills. Reaching out to people when they are young has long-range effects, and encouraging youth to take part in the emergency services is extremely beneficial to local communities and departments.

"The National Volunteer Fire Council National Junior Firefighter Program was founded eight years ago on the premise of community service, leadership training and the critical role of emergency response," said John Sztykiel, president and CEO of Spartan Motors. "Today, the premise of the foundation is still the same. For Spartan, while we manufacture premium emergency response units, we are focused on much more. We are focused on moving life in the right direction. We continue to value our relationship with the NVFC in educating and encouraging young people to give consideration to volunteering their time and energy to firefighting as a youth and into adulthood."

Spartan's support assists in providing a 1,000-hour level incentive reward for junior firefighters who are NVFC Junior Members. In addition, the NVFC will hold a social media outreach campaign to bring more awareness to junior firefighter programs nationwide. The NVFC is also working with Spartan to promote the program at FDIC, taking place April 20-25, 2015, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The NVFC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization representing the voice of the volunteer first responder at the national level, created the National Junior Firefighter Program to help departments start, promote and expand a local junior firefighter program.

Community involvement, such as support for the National Junior Firefighter Program, aligns with Spartan's D.R.I.V.E. initiative as it promotes the Company's vibrant culture while also creating excited customers and brand loyalists. With the aid from Spartan and its approximately 1,700 associates, the National Junior Firefighter Program aids in introducing youth to the fire and emergency services, thereby growing the ranks of America's firefighters and EMTs.

D.R.I.V.E. is Spartan's operating strategy based on five tenets:
  • Diversified Growth
  • Redefining Technology and Innovation
  • Integrated Operational Excellence
  • Vibrant Culture
  • Excited Consumers/Brand Loyalists

About Spartan Motors

Spartan Motors, Inc. designs, engineers and manufactures specialty chassis, specialty vehicles, truck bodies and aftermarket parts for the recreational vehicle (RV), emergency response, government services, defense, and delivery and service markets. The Company's brand names – Spartan™, Spartan Chassis™, Spartan ER™, Spartan ERV™ and Utilimaster® - are known for quality, performance, service and first-to-market innovation. The Company employs approximately 1,700 associates at facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Indiana and Florida. Spartan reported sales of $470 million in 2013 and is focused on becoming a global leader in the design, engineering and manufacture of specialty vehicles and chassis. Visit Spartan Motors at

About the NVFC

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable tools, resources, programs, and advocacy for first responders across the nation. The NVFC National Junior Firefighter Program provides departments and youth with the resources, tools, and information they need to help develop, grow, enhance, promote, and participate in a local junior firefighter program. The program addresses retention and recruitment challenges by getting youth involved in the fire and emergency services, thus fostering a lifelong connection with the emergency services that will continue throughout their adulthood. Learn more at
CONTACT: Russell T. Chick         Corporate Director of Marketing         Spartan Motors, Inc.         517.997.3852