YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – After a highly competitive interview process and a candidate pool of just under 100 applicants, 11 candidates were selected back in May to participate in AMR’s “Earn While You Learn” program.
Friday, those students graduated from the EMS program.
As the state continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases, EMTs are in high demand.
American Media Response is offering those in Youngstown a cost-free way to start a career in emergency medicine.
The seven week course let participants get paid to work full-time for the company while also learning.
“It gave me a better education in the medical field and it gave me an opportunity to work while I was getting that education,” said “Earn While You Learn” program graduate Alycia Bailes.
The program has been around for a few years, but it’s the first time it has come to Youngstown.
“Back in 2018, AMR recognized the national shortage for EMTs and paramedics, so at that time we ran a pilot program in Buffalo, New York,” said AMR regional director Edward Powers.
With the Delta variant running rampant throughout the state and country, there is an increased need for medical personnel.
“COVID really put a strain on the operation. It takes longer to sanitize the units, to clean in-between trips. ERs are overwhelmed, and with all the vaccination programs around the country, you know they’re using EMTs and paramedics for those as well – which puts an additional strain on an already strain system,” Powers said.
Powers said the program takes away some of their staffing issues. They plan to hold future programs in Youngstown to help ease the transition for those who want to become EMS professionals.
“It’s a great feeling to see someone who’s never done this before and be a part of their journey and see them now on their own. I mean, go on calls with them now and you just watch them work and I don’t have to do anything,” said program director Amanda Wood.
Of the 11 graduates who started the program back in May, all 11 successfully completed the program.
They also all passed the national registry, making them all certified EMTs in the sate of Ohio.