Bronx Assemblyman Kenny Burgos (District 85) joined Global Medical Response (GMR) and Hunter Ambulance for the graduation of 80 new Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) during a ceremony at LaGuardia Community College/ CUNY. Graduates hail from Queens, The Bronx, Long Island, and Westchester. The celebration comes as the country faces a critical EMT shortage and continues to battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the 80 graduates, 30 were from LaGuardia’s EMT training program. The other graduates were trained at centers in Long Island and Westchester: CodeOne CPR Training, Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and Flying Aces Consulting.
“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.”
The graduates were part of GMR’s Earn While You Learn program, which paid the students throughout their EMT training. In addition to an hourly salary, training (a value of approx. $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.
“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,” said 25yo Queens-resident Dora Meschino (pictured at right in her EMT trainee uniform), who was selected for LaGuardia’s Outstanding Student Award for excellence in EMT skills and perfect attendance. “I’m focused on becoming the best EMT possible, so that one day I can become the best paramedic. My long-term goal is to work in disaster management for FEMA.”
Earn While You Learn has graduated more than 1,000 EMTs since its inception in 2018 in Buffalo, NY and received a national honor from the American Ambulance Association in the best Employee Programs Category. Similar programs have also been launched across the nation, including in Alabama, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.
“Today is a remarkable day for emergency medical services in New York,” said Mike Addario, Global Medical Response’s Vice President of Operations for New York. “I am delighted to see the continued growth of the Earn While You Learn program, exemplified today by the graduation of our 1,000th student. We are attracting exceptionally talented EMTs to join our workforce and training them for careers that will prepare them for an exciting future.”