© 2022 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Connecticut News

Black Bridgeport firefighters say city is doing poor job of recruiting diverse candidates

Bridgeport, Connecticut, City Hall
Jerry Dougherty
/
Wikimedia Commons
Bridgeport, Connecticut, City Hall

A fraternity of Black firefighters in the city of Bridgeport said the fire department is doing a poor job of recruiting a diverse workforce.

Joe Franklin, with the Firebirds Society, said the city's current recruitment drive allows only a short time for applicants to prepare for the Candidate Physical Ability Test, or CPAT.

Hearst Connecticut Media reports that Franklin claims the process favors volunteer firefighters from outside the city who are familiar with the test. He also said exam application fees make it harder for people of color and women to apply.

Passing the CPAT is required of all firefighters in the state. It is physically demanding and must be completed in about 10 minutes

The city said the recruitment schedule is fair and that the physical certification will be required after the exam process, allowing for greater time to prepare. It also waives exam fees for a select group of city residents who qualify.

The Bridgeport Fire Department has 50 open positions, and already 500 applicants have signed up since recruitment began last week.