Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

News Release

Study: Promising practices to increase diversity in first responder careers

WASHINGTON – Results from the First Responder Workforce Diversity study, conducted for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Chief Evaluation Office by Coffey Consulting and their partners American Institutes for Research, were released today in an effort to identify promising practices that first responder agencies and organizations can leverage to increase the diversity of their workforces.

The research team visited five first responder departments and training sites to identify and document promising practices and strategies that promote racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in the recruitment, training, hiring, and retention of individuals in first responder occupations. The sites included two police departments (Atlanta Police Department and Dallas Police Department), one fire department (San Francisco Fire Department), and two third-party training providers (Bay Area Youth EMT program and Camp Fully Involved).

The report’s executive summary states: “Public citizens and officials have placed a renewed focus on improving agencies’ relations with their local communities by ensuring that first responders reflect the populations they serve. The potential benefits of increasing diversity and moving toward greater representation could also provide more secure and rewarding employment opportunities to historically underrepresented populations, thus having implications for local economic and workforce development.”

The department has also awarded an additional $5.5 million to help youth between the ages of 16 to 21 who are at risk of dropping out of public or alternative high school gain skills to serve their communities in justice careers. Six non-profit organizations received funding for pilot programs that provide at risk youth mentoring and career exploration in justice and emergency services, including police officers, firefighters, lawyers, and paramedics. This is the second set of grants awarded for the “Pathways to Justice Careers” initiative, which was first announced in April 2016. 

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy
December 28, 2016
Release Number
Media Contact: Egan Reich
Phone Number