Several dozen young people on Tuesday signed up for an Emergency Medical Technician training program in St. Paul.
The city launched the program to increase diversity in the city's emergency responder pool, which is mostly white.
The summer program trains young people to be emergency medical technicians, and gives them on-the-job training with professional EMTs, firefighters, paramedics and other responders.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said the city needs a more diverse workforce of emergency responders.
"We also need to make sure that when we go on an EMS run ... there is someone there that understands what is going on, that can speak the language -- whether it's Hmong or Spanish or any of the other hundreds of languages that are spoken in this community," Coleman said.
Nationally, studies show that people of color are underrepresented in the EMT field and other medical professions.
St Paul fire chief Tim Butler says a more diverse emergency responder pool helps individual patients and makes the whole community safer.