A new Minneapolis Fire Department program is training a diverse group of young city residents as emergency medical technicians, helping trainees on the path to stable, rewarding careers while creating a pipeline of qualified candidates to provide needed medical services in the community.
“This partnership will create a much-needed pipeline of diverse, qualified candidates to the Fire Service and emergency medical workforce in our community.” – Mayor Betsy Hodges
Funded in part by The Minneapolis Foundation, the EMS Pathways Academy provides free EMT training and certification to men and women from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. The program is open to city residents ages 18-30 who come from low-income families or face substantial employment barriers.
“Making sure Minneapolis has the workforce of the future is crucial, especially in public safety,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges, who announced the launch of the EMS Pathways Academy in March with other partners of the initiative, including The Minneapolis Foundation, Hennepin County Medical Center, and Project for Pride in Living. “This partnership will create a much-needed pipeline of diverse, qualified candidates to the Fire Service and emergency medical workforce in our community.”
The academy, which accepted two dozen candidates for its first course this summer, is free of charge to trainees, eliminating a barrier that keeps many young people from pursuing careers in emergency medical services. Summer 2016 trainees were considered City of Minneapolis student interns and earned $14.93 per hour to take this college-level course two days a week for 12 weeks.
EMT certification opens the door to many careers. Graduates of the program will get preference points on the next Fire Department entrance exam, which will take place in the spring of 2017. They will also be eligible to apply at Hennepin County Medical Center for EMS jobs and, if hired, would have the option to pursue further training to become paramedics.
Building a pipeline of diverse, qualified candidates in this field provides broad community benefits, not least because EMTs frequently serve residents from multilingual and culturally diverse communities.
“It is truly a ‘win’ for everyone in this community to be able to offer this academy,” said Luz Maria Frias, Vice President of Community Impact at The Minneapolis Foundation.
This post was updated on August 10, 2016.