NEW YORK — A record-breaking number of women and minorities took the firefighter entrance exam this spring, two years after a judge slammed the FDNY for discrimination.
After the FDNY made court-ordered changes to its exam and did an aggressive outreach campaign, 19,260 people of color took the firefighter test this spring, a 130 percent increase since the last time the exam was offered in 2007, the FDNY said.
And 1,952 women took the firefighting test as well — which is more than the total number of women who took the previous three FDNY tests combined.
"The extraordinary effort we made to reach people of color and women and interest them in the firefighter exam has been an unprecedented success," Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said in a statement.
"We've used every tool at our disposal — from recruitment events and tutorial sessions to phone banks and social media — to communicate to people from all backgrounds about the great benefits and invaluable rewards this job offers."
The FDNY was forced to make changes to its testing and recruiting practices after U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis lambasted the department for hiring very few minority firefighters. Garaufis' ruling, which included a court-appointed monitor to ensure the FDNY made changes, stemmed from a series of complaints filed by the Vulcan Society, an association of black firefighters.
Cassano announced the gains in minority recruitment at Engine 37/Ladder 40 on West 125th Street in Harlem Tuesday.
The FDNY offered the computerized firefighter test at 15 locations in the Tri-State area from March 15 to April 20, following a robust recruitment campaign, the department said.
Out of the 42,161 people who took the exam, there were 8,186 black test-takers, up from 3,855 in 2007; 9,582 Hispanic test-takers, up from 4,062 in 2007; and 1,314 Asian test-takers, up from 464 in 2007, the FDNY said.