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Minneapolis offers paid EMS training to diversify department

Applicants chosen would be considered part-time student interns and would earn $14.93 an hour; officials said the department wants to “reduce barriers”

By Mary Lynn Smith
Star Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis city officials are launching a paid emergency medical services training program in an effort to diversify its fire department and open a path into the medical field for people of color.

The city’s fire department is 71 percent white and 88 percent male.

“We want to reduce barriers,” said city spokeswoman Erica Prosser.

The EMS training certification course would be open to Minneapolis residents, ages 18 to 30. City officials would give priority to people who are unemployed, chronically underemployed and people of color, Prosser said.

The 25 people chosen for the EMS Pathways Academy would be considered part-time student interns for the city and would earn $14.93 an hour to take the college-level course two days a week for 12 weeks. There’s no cost to trainees for the course, which receives financial support from the Minneapolis Foundation.

Graduates will be eligible to apply at HCMC for jobs in EMS and would have the option to obtain further education for paramedic certification. The course also could be the first step to becoming a firefighter. The program’s graduates will get preference points on the next Fire Department entrance exam, which is scheduled for spring 2017.

“The last time we opened up positions for firefighter, we had over 5,000 applicants,” Prosser said. “Working for the Minneapolis Fire Department is a highly sought after position.”

St. Paul has a similar training program, she said.

The city will take applications from April 1-April 15. For more information, go to or call 311.

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