A graduation ceremony was held last week for the Pathways to Justice Careers Youth Police and Fire Academy.

The ceremony at Utica City Hall was attended by Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri, Utica Police Chief Mark Williams and Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol.

Thirty-three 11th and 12th graders from Utica graduated from the academy.

Many have aspirations to join law enforcement or become first responders.

The Pathways to Justice Careers program gives Utica high school junior and seniors the opportunity to take part in a Youth Police and Fire Academy.

The program’s goals are to diversify local public safety agencies and help to bridge the gap between the youth in the community and public safety professionals.

Participants of the Youth Police and Fire Academy learn firsthand what it is like to be a public safety professional, including the importance of positive engagement with the community and being physically fit.

Graduates of the academy received 3 college credits for their participation.

In addition, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department, and the Utica Fire Department, presented two $100 scholarships.

"I congratulate and commend the Utica residents who graduated from the Pathways to Justice Careers Youth Police and Fire Academy. It is exciting that many young
people in our city are interested in pursuing careers in public safety. I thank all our program partners for their collaboration, including Workforce Development for successfully
administering this important initiative," said Mayor Palmieri.

The program is completely funded by a United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration grant and administered by the Workforce Development Board of  Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties.

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