The NYC Fire Department recently announced plans to diversify its workforce, currently comprised of 93% white men. TV ads, billboards, and allied organizations, such as the Urban league and Harlem Chamber of Commerce, will disseminate information on the department’s efforts to hire more women and minorities.
“Clearly we have a long way to go,” said Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scappeta, at a recent NYC City Council meeting. In one of the most ethnically and racially diverse cities in the country, the NYC Fire Department currently employees only 30 women , 300 blacks, and 374 Latinos on its 11,112 member force.
Theodore Holms, President of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, is cautiously pleased with NYC’s decision. “It’s about time. Given their numbers, I would certainly be in support of it,” said Holmes. “But if you don’t have the intention of changing the complexion, both male and female, of your department, then it’s lip service.”