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Paramedics try to boost minority ranks

Monday, July 16, 2007

When Sussex County Emergency Medical Services Director Glenn Ludtke hires a Hispanic paramedic applicant in about eight months, the number of minorities on his 110-person staff will increase to two.



"Hey, we're going to double our minority participation," he jokes. "Not everybody can say that."



Ludtke is nothing but serious, however, when he talks about the efforts of Delaware's three county-run paramedic forces to raise their historically low levels of minority employees through targeted recruitment.



Minorities make up just 4 percent -- or 10 employees out of 246 -- of the paramedic staffs statewide. That number has barely inched forward since last summer, when a News Journal article highlighted the statistics.



"We recognize the problem and we all have the same issues," Ludtke said. "It's become clearer we're not an attractive profession -- or at least not a known profession -- in many of the minority communities. So we've got to get the word out."



Ludtke is heading up a new diversity task force for the National Association of EMS Educators. A symposium is scheduled for September in Hollywood, Calif., where Ludtke said he hopes to exchange ideas with other paramedic leaders on how they have tackled the problem.

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