The fire department has made significant strides towards making the department’s membership better reflect the diversity of the city we serve, and that work continues. Sixteen young, diverse emergency medical technicians (EMTs) were promoted this week into the fire department to staff our ambulance transport service. All of these EMTs are graduates of the city’s revolutionary Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Academy which provides paid EMT training to diverse, low-income youths so they can apply to become Saint Paul firefighters.
We’ve come a long way, but we have more work to do.
RECRUITING EFFORTS AND DEPARTMENT DIVERSITY INITIATIVES
One of the biggest improvements we have made in building diversity is maintaining a continuous presence with young people in diverse communities and mentoring those interested towards careers with the SPFD. We have a standing recruiting team that meets regularly with Human Resources to explore new and creative ways to captivate interest and mentor young Saint Paulites.
The following are specific programs we have developed and are very proud of:
X The EMS Academy: Training Saint Paul youth as EMTs to help them qualify as firefighter candidates.
X Firefighter I training at the training center: SPFD hosted a Firefighter I certification program and a firefighter summer camp to engage youth in careers, positive role models, and actual firefighter certification.
X Ongoing recruiting team: One of our main goals is to maintain contact with all Saint Paul high schools to enhance the interest of a diverse population in becoming firefighters with SPFD.
X Community events and outreach: We have had considerable contact with the Hmong Academy, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Totem Town, etc. Our recruitment team focuses on disseminating hiring information to the general public at these events in order to attract the most qualified applicants that represent the diversity of the citizens served by the Saint Paul Fire Department.
X Fire 20-20 Workshop: In 2011, the Saint Paul Fire Department hosted a statewide Fire 20-20 Diversity and Recruiting Workshop attended by the leadership and diversity committees of seven other fire departments.
X Women’s Expos: Saint Paul Fire Department has joined the Northstar Women’s Firefighting Association, which is a professional association for women active or interested in the firefighting profession. Together we have hosted joint training events and women’s firefighting expos to demonstrate the gear, equipment, and training techniques used in the trade, and to encourage and mentor women interested in firefighting.