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Building Innovation is a collection of stories by 90.5 fm WESA reporters about the Pittsburgh region focusing on efficient government operation, infrastructure and transportation, innovative practices, energy and environment and neighborhoods and community.

Westinghouse Gets Fire Truck, $150,000 To Support Public Safety Education Program

Deanna Garcia
90.5 WESA

Westinghouse High School officials announced Thursday a new Emergency Response Technology program promising career training for students interested in public safety. 

The program will launch at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane said high school students often receive either college preparatory education or career technical education.

“In my perfect world, all students would have a full academic program as well as full career and technical education program,” Lane said. “Right now kids have to choose, and honestly most of us need both during our lives.”

Mayor Bill Peduto applauded the district. Public safety career training, as opposed to traditional “advertisement” recruiting methods, can help promote diversity in law enforcement, he said.

“If we want to see a diverse police force … then what we need to do is create a similar type of program, giving our kids an advantage over others to become public safety officials,” Peduto said. “That’s what we’re going to do right here in Homewood.”

The American Federation of Teachers awarded Pittsburgh Public Schools a $150,000 grant to support the program’s launch, and the City of Pittsburgh donated a retired 1987 Pierce Dash Pumper fire truck to be used for educational purposes.

Westinghouse High School, which teaches students grades 6-12, also offers other Career and Technical Education programs in sports administration, culinary arts, carpentry, health and cosmetology.