Updated: 03/15/2014 7:31 AM
Created: 03/14/2014 7:29 PM KSTP.com
By: Todd Wilson
Twenty-three-year-old Carlton Williams and several classmates are learning the techniques of spine board and stretcher transportation. Williams says his time in the military is what inspired him to join the St. Paul Fire EMS Academy.
"I'm used to being that person people can rely on," he said.
Williams is one of 34 students who make up the winter class. With recruitment targeting minorities the demographics breaks down to: 29 percent identified as African American, 23 percent Asian, 18 percent Multiracial, 15 percent Hispanic, 9 percent Caucasian and 6 percent Native American.
"What it is doing is helping the City of St. Paul match the opportunities for every resident," said Chief Matt Simpson of the St. Paul Fire Department.
The Saint Paul EMS Academy is a 240-hour program that is designed for low-income, diverse youth between the ages of 18 and 24. They will learn basic life support like how to control bleeding to CPR. The training lasts 10 to 14 weeks.
"It's a three day a week program. They'll run Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 8 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon," Simpson said.
They also get paid $7.50 while going to school. 129 students have graduated from the EMS Academy since 2009. 28 of those graduates were hired by St. Paul Fire Department. Twenty-four people out of the 28 alumni are minorities.
Williams says once he's finished with the academy he's moving one step closer to his main goal.
"My long term goal is I want to be a fireman," he said.