SIDNEY — As the nation celebrates National EMS Week all this week, Spirit EMS has announced its intent to offer free EMT classes to anyone wanting to enter the emergency medical services career field.
“With the current average age of a certified Ohio EMS worker being at the age of 43, we must start working diligently and proactively as EMS organizations to encourage others to enter this rewarding career field,” said Spirit EMS President/CEO Brian K. Hathaway. “The future of EMS without some sort of immediate engagement from our younger generation looks very scary if we don’t do something now.”
Hathaway said Spirit company officials decided to offer the free EMT classes in hopes of bringing more people into its workforce without the fear of having any long-term debt while being able to get into class, become certified, and have the opportunity to work in an ever-demanding career field.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever done something like this,” said Spirit EMS Vice President Aaron Guthrie. “But with the ever-changing times comes the need to adapt and overcome, so that patient needs in the rural communities we serve can be met.”
Spirit currently has a waiting list of over 115 facilities in western Ohio and eastern Indiana that have requested their services, but based upon the lack of staffing, they have been unable to serve their needs.
“There are people’s loved ones out there that need our help, but like everyone else around, the struggle to find help continues to challenge us,” Hathaway said. “Spirit will not only offer the free EMT classes, but also continue to offer our traditional EMT scholarship program that enables people with a passion to help others to be able to do so, all the while being paid to learn in the process.”
The application process for consideration is simple. Application requests can be made by going online to the Spirit webpage at www.spiritmedicaltransport.com and clicking on the graduation cap, or by emailing Spirit’s Director of Human Resources and Regulatory Compliance Ted Bruner at [email protected].
Hathaway said those who take advantage of the free EMT classes will not be paid for attending the summer class, but will be required to pass the class for the class to be free. However, after taking the free class, there is no employment commitment to Spirit required. Those interested in being paid under the scholarship program while attending class will also be required to pass the class, obtain national EMT certification, and must commit to working 2,080 hours as a full-time Spirit employee.
The application deadline for both the free and scholarship opportunity is Monday, June 5, 2023, at 5 p.m.
The classes are a partnership between Spirit EMS and Four County Career Center based in Archbold, Ohio. Classes will be held five days a week for six weeks starting June 12, 2023. Class hours are typically held Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Spirit Education Center, 700 Pine St., Greenville. The classes are adapted to various learning styles and include trips to a cadaver lab, an emergency vehicle operations course, a class with Chief Medicolegal Death Investigator Joe Van Vickle of the Darke County Coroner’s Office regarding “CSI Files of Darke County,” and lessons on the basics of customer service in EMS, just to name a few. Company owners also provide routine meals to attending participants.
Since the company-sponsored scholarship program first began in August 2017, over $900,000 has been invested into educating local people desirous of starting an EMT and/or paramedic career at Spirit EMS.
With offices in Celina, Defiance, Greenville, Houston, Sidney, and Van Wert, Ohio, along with Liberty, Indiana, classes are open to people who live near their respective service areas. Company officials also provide transportation assistance to qualified scholarship applicants.