EmeryCare to offer pay, job to EMT students

Times Observer file photo EmergyCare is planning an EMT course for early next year where the agency will not only guarantee those who finish the training a job but also offer part-time pay and health benefits during the 10-week training course.

The ability to staff an ambulance is a consistent problem across the nation and here in Warren County.

EmergyCare is hoping to recruit several new EMTs by offering an EMT Academy at the Warren Station in North Warren early this year.

But this offering has some unique elements — the agency is offering part-time pay and health benefits — to the prospective EMTs while they’re in training.

And the plan is to guarantee them a job when they’re done.

Dave Basnak, EmergyCare’s assistant director, said they’re seeking six to eight people initially but could see the number go higher.

“The EMS profession is focused on helping people in need,” he said. “We are looking for individuals who are people and community oriented. The basis of our mission at EmergyCare is ‘to] save lives and positively impact the health, well-being, and safety of the communities we serve.’

Additionally, the job is very hands-on and requires the ability to rapidly interpret a situation and take action based on those findings.”

The class will start mid-February and run for 10 weeks and is specifically seeking to recruit individuals from the Warren area.

“Candidates must have good study habits as this is a fast paced program that is designed to not only provide them the basis of EMT education, it also introduces them to our organization so they are familiar with our standard operations,” Basnak explained.

After completion and orientation, candidates must commit to one year working with EmergyCare.

“However, we provide the ability to climb the career ladder while at EmergyCare,” Basnak said. “After they gain field experience, they have the ability to apply to our Advanced EMT and/or paramedic program to continue their EMS education. The paramedic program alone costs $7,000-plus however any of our staff that complete the program pay nothing in exchange for a time commitment.”

Those wishing to apply by the Jan. 10 deadline can do so on the EmergyCare website — emergycare.org.

A similar program wrapped up in Erie County last month. Of the 12 students that started, eight completed the program and “will be entering our system full time.”

He said the difference from public EMT classes is that they are “filled with individuals that volunteer with an agency or someone who is attending for a college elective. Many of those individuals are not entering EMS on a full time basis as a career.”

Ongoing staffing challenges have promoted the agency to go to these lengths to find qualified EMTs.

“It is no secret that recruiting people to the field of EMS — career or volunteer — is a struggle and there is a staffing crisis,” Basnak said. “This program is 100% to help recruit individuals into the EMS system and help provide a career ladder for forward progress. The only way we can combat this crisis is by making the bold investment of recruiting new individuals into EMS.”

He acknowledged that this is a “significant investment” for the agency and that there is now “no external funding to help offset the cost.

“Expenses such as this only continues to compel the argument that local, state, and federal officials urgently need to look at additional funding streams beyond just insurance reimbursement,” Basnak said. “The goal of this program is to help with EMS staffing however it is not the ‘catch all’ solution. EMS needs to be appropriately funded so that wages can be increased to levels that attract people to the industry.”


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