Eastpointe High School is kicking off an EMT training  program, where 25 students would take a two-month summer course that would guarantee them an EMT job upon completion.

Eastpointe High School is kicking off an EMT training program, where 25 students would take a two-month summer course that would guarantee them an EMT job upon completion.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Medstar Ambulance offers Eastpointe students EMT training, jobs

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 29, 2019

 Medstar Ambulance Training Manager Chris Watts and EMT  Brittany Hengy talk with Eastpointe High School seniors about what  a career as an EMT is like and what opportunities it could provide.

Medstar Ambulance Training Manager Chris Watts and EMT Brittany Hengy talk with Eastpointe High School seniors about what a career as an EMT is like and what opportunities it could provide.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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EASTPOINTE — Medstar Ambulance is teaming up with Eastpointe High School to provide 12th-graders with a special program to not only train them to be an emergency medical technician, but also to promise anyone who passes the course a job upon completion.

The free course will allow 25 students the chance to have a guaranteed part-time or full-time job directly out of high school

“It’s a special EMT academy,” said Medstar Vice President of Healthcare Integration Susan Burkhardt. “It’s a two-month accelerated program at Eastpointe High School. We’re accepting 25 students who will have to pass a personal interview alongside a parent to get in, as well as provide a letter of recommendation from a teacher.”

Roland Bell, the career technical education law enforcement instructor at Eastpointe High School, worked with Medstar to arrange for the program to be available to his students. He said it is unlike any other opportunity that he has ever come across.

“I have never heard of this happening before,” he said. “This is (Medstar) stepping up to the plate and trying to help the young people of this community. … This could make a huge difference in these students’ lives.”

Bell said this could mean that someone who doesn’t want to go to a four-year college could have the chance to get a good position, or those who do want to attend college can get jobs to help pay for school, build up their resumes and get sought-after skills should they go into another career in the medical field.

Medstar also offers all part-time and full-time employees a free program to become a paramedic, gaining access to higher-paying jobs and more potential opportunities.

“EMTs provide emergency care, whereas paramedics can do things like administer different drugs to patients,” explained Burkhardt. “EMTs are valuable positions though. They are trained in all basic types of life support and save lives every day.”

Burkhardt and her colleagues made a presentation to the students at an assembly March 27. Dozens of students jumped at the opportunity and barraged the paramedics who were in attendance with questions.

“This is a good opportunity,” said senior Wynter McClain. “It’s really going to help us, especially as a black community. I was looking for a job, and they’re guaranteeing one.” 

Burkhardt said starting salaries for a full-time Medstar EMT would be $30,000, and that passing the course would allow the students to be licensed for EMT employment anywhere in the state.

“The salary is awesome,” said McClain. “I never thought about being an EMT, but this could let you get a good job anywhere in Michigan.”

Burkhardt said Medstar was trying to find new ways to engage with high school students and that Eastpointe High School was in sync with their ideas.

“Eastpointe High School reached out to us,” she said. “We are looking to put EMT programs back in high schools, and that fits with the direction that Eastpointe High School is headed.”

Eastpointe officials think certification and vocational training is becoming an increasingly attractive route for graduating seniors, and they were thrilled with the opportunities Medstar was offering.

“Our new principal (John Summerhill) is trying to push for more vocational classes for our students,” Bell said. “This includes things like corrections-officer training and certification. The avenues to go to college aren’t what people think they are. We’re asking kids to go out right after high school to get into tremendous debt. … This lets students see an alternative — and beneficial — way forward.” 

Students said the program made them think of careers that they never considered before, and that could make a huge difference in their futures.

“It will help pay for my two degrees,” said senior Paszionique Kelly. “I’ve always had an interest in the medical field. This is a chance to learn something for free, get a good job and earn money for school. … This is a less-fortunate school, and this could give people with fewer opportunities a chance to advance.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.

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