80 EMTs graduate amid city and nationwide shortage

LaGuardia Community College and Global Medical Response celebrated the graduating class of 80 new Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) last week in Queens.

Graduates hailing from Queens, the Bronx, Long Island and Westchester were part of GMR’s “Earn While You Learn Program”, which pays students throughout their EMT training.

Of the 80 graduates, 30 were from LaGuardia’s EMT training program, held in Long Island City. Other graduates were trained at centers in Long Island and Westchester. Bronx Assemblymember Kenny Burgos also attended the graduation ceremony.

“LaGuardia Community College has been providing top-notch emergency medical services (EMS) training for 35 years, and we are pleased to continue that long-standing tradition through our work with Global Medical Response,” said LaGuardia Community College Vice President of Adult and Continuing Education Sunil B. Gupta. “Today’s graduates, and those of future cohorts, help reduce the shortage of vital EMTs in communities throughout New York City and beyond.”

Since its inception in Buffalo in 2018, Earn While You Learn has graduated over 1,000 EMTs. SImilar programs have also been launched across the nation, including in Alabama, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.

In addition to an hourly salary, training (a value of approximately $1,500) was provided at no cost to the students. Their textbooks, uniforms, tuition, and fees were all covered by the program. In return, participants agree to work for GMR for one year after becoming a certified EMT. The graduates are eligible to work for one of GMR’s subsidiaries: American Medical Response, Hunter Ambulance, or Crowd Rx. As EMT graduates, they will each receive a raise and a promotion.

25-year-old Queens resident Dora Meschino, who was selected for LaGuardia’s Outstanding Student Award for excellence in EMT skills and perfect attendance, says the program will continue to help her towards her ultimate goal of working in disaster management for FEMA.

“I’m excited to get to work as an EMT. I became an EMT because I’ve always loved helping people and wanted to learn about the medical field. And this program will help me get a good job as an EMT that will enable me to pay my bills while I continue pursuing my bachelor’s in Emergency Services Administration and Homeland Security at John Jay College of Criminal Justice,” Meschino said. “I’m focused on becoming the best EMT possible, so that one day I can become the best paramedic.”

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