ST. PAUL, Minn. - The St. Paul Police Department is starting a new academy to diversify the department. It's called the Law Enforcement Career Path Academy. It's a two and a half year program.

They have 20 to 25 spots available and they are accepting applications until March 31.

The Academy, set to begin in April, is targeting 18 to 24 year olds from all walks of life.

They are partnering with community organizations to help with any challenges students might have like childcare and transportation.

They are also working with right track who will pay the students $10.50 an hour while they take classes so they would not need to have a job while they are in school.

Police say the program will help train the future officers to be more multicultural.

"It's a dual track. So by the time they end their studies. That individual will have the community side and will be better prepared when they go out to the street that they are able to face the needs of our community," said John Lozoya, a senior commander with St. Paul Police Department.

On top of taking classes from April through August at Century College, the students will participate in community events in different parts of the city to become familiar with different cultures, have opportunities to ride with officers patrolling St. Paul, on-going mentoring from St. Paul Police Officers.

The goal is to help people who aspire to become police officers achieve their goals, preferably with St. Paul Police Department.

"Many young people face barriers in their daily lives that prevent them from pursuing their dreams," said Lozoya. "Our goal is to help them overcome those barriers while at the same time positioning them to succeed once they earn their degree and pass the peace officer standards and training test."

St. Paul Police is partnering with Century College, to help academy participants enroll in the law enforcement program and the Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties, which focuses on helping people access education programs, transportation and employment opportunities.

Applications and eligibility requirements for the Law Enforcement Career Path Academy can be found online at