CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Fire Department is looking for more people to join their team.

Interim Fire Chief Howard Key said he is pushing for more diversity in the department to better serve the people of Charlotte.

Chief Key joined the department in 1977, working his way up the ranks as he was named interim chief in September. Now, he wants to provide that same opportunity for others, including minorities.

“It’s important to me because this is a viable profession,” Chief Key said. “All walks of life should be afforded the opportunity to participate in.”

When Key first joined the department, he says recruiting and retaining minorities wasn’t an issue.

“We had about 95 firefighters all of us were male, black males,” Chief Key said.

Forty years later, it’s something the department is focusing on more than ever. According to the chief, there are 1,066 firefighters on the ground in Charlotte. White men make up 830 of that and 137 are black males.

When it comes to women, the numbers are strikingly different. Out of 31 female firefighters, only 2 are black.

The chief is now on a mission to diversify the team, welcoming all races, genders and beliefs.

“We’re doing what we need to do in regards to the times we live in, in regards to accepting and embracing differences,” Chief Key said.

If you’re interested in applying for a position with Charlotte Fire, the application process is open until November 3. Click here for more details.