Lehigh Valley Hospital–Schuylkill Joins Partnership for Education, Professional Opportunity and Improved Access to Care
Schuylkill County, like much of Pennsylvania, has a dramatic shortage of emergency medical technicians (EMTs). A new partnership between Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Schuylkill, Pottsville Area School District, Schuylkill EMS and the East Lebanon County School District (ELCO) hopes to change that. The four organizations announced the formation of a new EMT training program to begin in the new school year at Pottsville Area High School.
“We are both excited and encouraged that this program will result in more emergency medical technicians in our community as well as the educational and career opportunities it will provide to our youth,” says William “Bill” Reppy, President, LVH–Schuylkill.
The year-long curriculum begins with the new school year. The program expects to draw about 30 high school students who will meet one period every day, in the classroom or through online learning. Those students already expressed an interest in pursuing EMT certification during spring scheduling.
“We are very excited for this educational opportunity for our students and for the long-term health and safety benefits for community,” says Jared A. Gerace, Acting Superintendent, Pottsville Area School District.
In addition to the daily class schedule, students will also participate in “field experiences” aboard Schuylkill EMS units. The classes, taught by Schuylkill EMS Staff, will include quizzes and tests as part of the curriculum. At the program’s conclusion, students will then sit for the National Registry Exam, a computer-based testing program that will give them both State and National Certification.
“We have experienced the EMT shortage first-hand,” notes Patrick Moran, Education and Community Outreach Coordinator with Schuylkill EMS and one of the instructors. “With the presence of COVID-19 that need for additional EMT’s has grown quite a bit. We anticipate the program will also provide some great professional opportunity as these students finish high school and beyond.” Moran also noted that the program will use all accepted social distancing measures, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and any other precautions.
Program organizers have noted that in addition to becoming an EMT, the program can encourage additional educational and professional development in the health care field.
Lehigh Valley Health Network has maintained a strong partnership with Schuylkill EMS as it provides medical directorship of the ambulance service.
In the partnership, Pottsville Area School District is providing its classroom facilities and access to interested students. Schuylkill EMS is providing the EMT instructors. ELCO has been providing EMT training in their schools for more than 20 years and is offering their program expertise to Schuylkill. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Schuylkill is funding the program.