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EXPLANATION: The amendment would create an incentive for graduates of a public safety academy to pursue their public safety careers in the City of Cincinnati by awarding an examination credit of five (5) points in entry-level examinations for classified jobs in the City’s Fire or Police departments. In order to be eligible for the credit, individuals would have to successfully graduate from a fire or police program conducted at a public safety academy (PSA) to be established by Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) in collaboration with the City of Cincinnati. The public safety curriculum of the academy would have to be approved by the City of Cincinnati administration and its fire and police administration. A person would be limited to a maximum of ten (10) points on an entry-level examination for civil service positions through a combination of military service credit and public safety academy graduate credit. These examination credits would apply only to entry-level examinations and not to any promotional examinations.
This issue was placed on the ballot by a vote of Cincinnati City Council.
BACKGROUND: If this amendment passes, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), in collaboration with the City of Cincinnati, would proceed to implement plans which are already underway to develop a public safety academy including fire and police training programs. CPS would build out the curriculum of the academy to align with state standards and with certification and training standards to be approved by the Police and Fire administration of the City. To those supporting the public safety academy, the examination credit would provide a meaningful incentive for CPS students to choose to enter the public safety academy programs and to choose careers in the City’s Fire and Police departments. If all the qualifications of the amendment are met in the new public safety academy, then successful graduates of the academy would qualify for the five point credit when they take an entry-level examination for a job in the City’s Fire or Police departments.
The City of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Public Schools announced a partnership to establish a Fire Academy at Western Hills University High School through its My Tomorrow initiative. Under the My Tomorrow initiative, Western Hills prepares students for careers through its Law & Public Safety Career Pathway Program, which will include the Fire Academy.
Once established, the Fire Academy pilot program will help improve opportunities for low-income African Americans, Appalachians, and other underserved communities to compete for an appointment to the Cincinnati Fire Department. The pilot program is part of Cincinnati African-American Firefighters Association’s (CAFA) goal to help diversify the City’s fire department.
The Fire Academy Pilot Program will provide Western Hills High School students an opportunity to train to meet the National Fire Protection Association Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 requirements; obtain a CPR certification; obtain EMS Certification; prepare to pass the Firefighter Examinations; intern with or shadow a CFD employee, and be assigned a CFD professional mentor. Council Member Yvette Simpson announced the partnership with CPS Board President Ericka Copeland Dansby, Laura Mitchell, Incoming CPS Superintendent, Ken Jump, principal of Western Hills University High School and Raffel Prophett, president of CAFA. Simpson will also be helping to create the pilot program.
Simpson’s participation in the program is a continuation of her commitment to safety and workforce initiatives – Violence Prevention, Psych Trauma Teams, Youth-To-Work and Employment Pipeline Pilot Program (EP3) – that she has launched during her City Council career. Simpson turned the Youth-To-Work program over to the city administration last year, and the Cincinnati Recreation Commission is operating the program. The one-year EP3 program will be presenting its results soon before the Human Services, Youth & Arts Committee.
“The goal of this pilot program is to empower and prepare our young people for the future,” Simpson said. “We want to make sure this pilot program provides the youth with excellent training enabling them to experience the pride that comes with learning new skill sets.”
Over the next few years the Cincinnati Fire Department will have several career firefighters retire. The latest CFD recruit class will graduate on Wednesday, June 7, and add 41 new people to the City’s firefighter staff. The new initiative will help CFD find qualified applicants.
Raffel Prophett, president of CAFA, noted in the press conference that the number of minority firefighters within CFD is lower than he likes. He said the Fire Academy will help CFD’s recruitment of new firefighters.