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'Most Diverse' Class In FDNY History Graduates

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The most diverse class of firefighter trainees in city history has graduated in Brooklyn.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano presided over the graduation ceremony on Thursday.

The class of 242 probationary firefighters is 62 percent minority, including 24 percent black and 36 percent Hispanic.

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This comes after a federal judge ordered the city to reform its hiring practices in the FDNY, which was nearly 90 percent white.

A judge ruled last year that the FDNY discriminated against minorities in its entrance exam. Some minorities who might have otherwise been hired weren't and others who were hired might have been hired sooner.

"The number of minority firefighters has nearly doubled over the past 12 years," said Bloomberg. "The members of this graduating class come from a wide range of backgrounds and represent the very best of our city – and our country."

"This new class of 'probies' is the most diverse in FDNY history and moves us closer to our long-stated goal of a department that better reflects the city we serve," said Cassano. "Through their hard work and many weeks of training at the Fire Academy, this class has earned the right to be called New York City Firefighters."

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