~ CCWA Kicks Off Young Adult Initiative with EMT Certification Training in Petersburg ~ By Amy Taloma
For 15 students, the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program is the first step to a new career in a high-demand field. Last month, through a partnership supported by the Virginia Community College System’s Young Adult Initiative, Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), John Tyler Community College, and Southside Adult Education Programs, began training the partnership’s first student cohort for the EMT certification.
One remarkable facet of the class is that it is held three nights a week (6pm – 10pm) at Southside Virginia Emergency Crew (SVEC) in Petersburg (VA). By locating the course at an active medical facility, CCWA students come into contact with EMTs and get a glimpse at the activities and atmosphere surrounding an active emergency crew.
SVEC is the primary EMS agency for the Tri-Cities area answering thousands of calls for service annually with over a million man hours accumulated to keep up with the demand. SVEC also provides other services in the region such as standbys, public events, and combined training and preparedness exercises in conjunction with other public service organizations.
The EMT course is unique because it follows the Plugged In Virginia model which integrates adult education and career coaching within the occupational and credential training. In this process, the students learn EMT course content two of three evenings per week. During occupational training, on the remaining class night, students work with an adult education instructor on key math, vocabulary, and study strategies. Another key component of the course is the involvement of CCWA career coaches who teach employability skills and help students prepare for their new roles as EMTs.
Students who successfully complete the course and earn certification will be able to join the workforce as an entry-level EMT. This model assists students who may have thought that a career in health care was unavailable to them because of their lack of educational credentials. The program strengthens academic skills and builds student confidence while they work on attaining the EMT credential.
During the first week of class, students enrolled in the program took time to get to know each other with icebreakers. When asked about their motivation to pursue a certification, student responses ranged from a longing to help people in their community to seeking advancement opportunities within health sciences or military career fields.
CCWA Student Paris Brown says that the credential will provide him with a flexible career, not just a job – providing a public safety role and keeping people alive. Summer Brown has been trying to get this certification for the past year, but never found an affordable program that fit her schedule, until now. She is currently a lifeguard and wants to explore more health care fields, but knows this certification is a great first step to earning medical experience that will fuel her career.
With over 360 hours of training completed, CCWA’s first class of EMT students, taught by John Tyler EMT Instructor, Daniel Linkins, is now learning how to lift up to 125 pounds, and preparing for mass casualty situations – using their newly formed skills on simulated patients. In June, the Tri-Cities region will welcome 15 highly trained EMTs onto the first response scene.
For more information on upcoming EMT courses, visit ccwatraining.org/EMT