MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Part of the $10 million in American Rescue Plan money set aside for emergency medical services will be allocated to create a pathway for high school students to become emergency medical technicians.
Del. Joe Statler, R-Monongalia, said the need for personnel is urgent and grows each day.
“Preston County I believe has lost three squads, and another one is struggling to hang on,” Statler said on WAJR’s Talk of the Town. “So, we know there’s a great need for these young men and women.”
Statler said the principal of the Monongalia County Technical Education Center(MTEC), Greg Dausch presented an idea to create a class that prepares students for the state exam. Statler was able to get a grant of about $169,000 for Dausch to get to work and set the program up.
“And from there we kept working with the superintendent of schools,” Statler said. “Board member Ron Lytle has been in step with me every step of the way making people available that we needed to talk to.”
Dausch said they will offer the course along with the The Shirley M. Kimble Training Center. The organization has been training to healthcare providers and basic training for lay rescuers since 1992. More than 400 instructors there train more than 3,000 people each year.
“The state requires 155 course hours, but we’re going to offer 180 hours so these students can be prepared to take their national exam to be certified emergency medical personnel,” Dausch said.
Dausch said the program is directed to meet the need for emt’s as quickly, with as little expense to the student as possible. Most programs would have tuition and supply fees for materials required, but Dausch said because of the grant students will graduate with everything they need to take the state qualification exam.
“We’re going to go ahead and pay for uniforms for the students, test preparation, all curriculum as well as licensure exams and the West Virginia license for emergency medical services,” Dausch said.
So far, 70 students have signed up for the first session that begins in June. Dausch said each session will accommodate 25 students, so there is another session set to begin this fall.
Currently, MTEC offers 15 two-year educational programs to fill needs of the local workforce. Dausch said they are planning add the 16th program this fall when the full EMT program is launched.
“We can also get equipment and supplies ready so we can offer a two-year program in the fall for high school students,” Dausch said.