CLEVELAND - The Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking to recruit diverse agents into their ranks.
Currently, the breakdown is as follows, per data provided by the FBI:
There are roughly 13,358 Special Agents.
Out of those, 83 percent are white, 6.5 percent are Hispanic, 4.5 percent are Asian, and 4.4 percent are Black. Less than one percent are multi-racial, Native American, and Pacific Islanders.
Billboards are going up around Cleveland to encourage more minorities to apply. There is also a diversity recruitment information session scheduled for April 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn at 6001 Rockside Rd.
There is also a push for more female agents.
“We are at a ratio of about 1 to 6 in the Bureau, one female for every six males,” said Vicki Anderson, FBI special agent. “That’s better than it was before when I came in — it was 1 to 8.”
Anderson said there’s often a misconception about female agents, particularly ones portrayed on television.
“I think a lot of females don’t think it is possible, they think they can’t juggle an FBI career and a family, but it is possible,” Anderson said.
For Assistant Special Agent in Charge Alvin Winston, who grew up on Cleveland's east side, being at the Cleveland FBI bureau is like a homecoming.
“There were things that we were sheltered from, it was a crime-ridden neighborhood, lot of drugs, lot of violence,” Winston said. “Lot of things going on that my mother did not want us to be involved in.”
Winston eventually joined the Marines, and then he became an Atlanta homicide detective. Just before he turned 37 years old, he met an FBI agent and was inspired to apply.
“Funny thing about that, they called me on my 37th birthday,” Winston said. Four days later, he was training at the academy at FBI headquarters in Quantico.
Winston was initially based out of the FBI Miami division. Three months ago, he was transferred to the Cleveland FBI division.
“I never thought that my journey would start and end essentially here,” he said. “While growing up on the east side of Cleveland, I wasn’t exposed to much, maybe a three- to four-block radius. Being an FBI agent, I’m exposed to the world.”
It’s that opportunity to exposure, Winston believes, that will convince minorities to seek information about applying to become agents.
The FBI is currently seeking applicants in the following areas: STEM, foreign language, law, emergency medicine, CPAs, attorneys, detectives, military, scientists and pilots.
You can sign up for the recruitment information session by clicking HERE. Click on "Apply" and search DAR, then choose Cleveland DAR to register.