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The Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute was born out of the effort to address the problem of African Americans in the fire service being denied the opportunity to receive cutting edge management training. The concept proposed by Carl Holmes, then Chief of the Oklahoma City Fire Department, was to have African American instructors deliver course material in the area of their expertise or current area of management within the fire service.
In May of 1991, the pilot Institute Training Program was held at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL with 45 students. During that week of training, students were introduced to a wealth of new ideas and concepts centered on preparing them to become top-notch Fire/EMS managers. With the success of that first year, additional training modules were added and interest grew in this exciting new program. A move, in 1996, to the campus of Dillard University in New Orleans, LA brought the opportunity to increase our enrollment and expand our program. Students spread throughout five modules were given instruction in areas such as the budget process in a department or city, how to develop community based fire/EMS programs, or media relations. EDI’s students, instructors, and administration enjoyed an atmosphere fostered by working on a common goal and sharing experiences, strengths, obstacles, and successes with one another.
In 2006, EDI moved to Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA due to damage at Dillard University from hurricane Katrina. Our success has already been noted both nationally and locally. The program is certified the same as the National Fire Academy Executive Officer Program (EFO) and is a recognized program toward Chief Officer’s certification. And many of our students have expressed that their promotion to higher ranks within their departments can be linked to their attendance at EDI.
In 2011, EDI returned to Dillard University after repairs were made from the devastation of hurricane Katrina, and celebrated our 20 year anniversary.
Moving past our 20 year mark, EDI continues to strive to prepare Firefighters through Chiefs with the skills necessary to successfully move through the ranks in the fire service. There are still many who have not heard of EDI and could benefit greatly from attending. Many graduates from various backgrounds have already benefited from the training received at The Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute.
It is my hope that as we tackle what lies ahead, we will once again be on course for “Preparing Tomorrows Leaders in the Fire/EMS Service”.