Detroit high school program trains students to be firefighters, EMTs

A new program is getting Detroit students from the classroom into the workforce. A new partnership between DPS and the city's fire department aims to do just that.

High school students will now begin training as firefighters and emergency medical technicians while in school, making them eligible to be hired right after graduation.

And Detroit Cody students will be getting the first crack at the program.

"They will graduate from high school and have their firefighter certification," said Mayor Mike Duggan said. "That gives them a huge leg up in getting a job."

Seniors Lanita Lesley and Shakayla Johnson are among the 30 students already signed up.

"I actually wanted to go into law enforcement and criminal justice," Lesley said. "I heard about the fire program and thought this is something I could actually experience."

"I'm undecided on my major, what I want to major in," said Johnson. "This is a great opportunity to see other fields."

The Medicine and Health Academy classes will offer students hands-on training while they learn certification - making them employable as firefighters or EMTs immediately after graduation.

It will be a two year pilot program. If successful, Duggan wants to expand it to more Detroit schools.

Lt. Jamal Mickles of the Detroit Fire Department worked in a similar program when he went to the now closed Detroit Murray Wright High School.

"I always wanted to be a firefighter," Mickles said. "I had no clue how to pursue this field. So they opened my eyes and pointed me in the right direction."

Now he will be one of the instructors at Cody.

"We have a bright future, we'll continue to get more Detroit residents in jobs," he said.

There is still time to sign up for the program, firefighter classes start in the fall and the EMT program begins next year.