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LifeCare Ambulance & Lorain County Community College Deliver First Apprenticeship Program In Ohio For EMT & Paramedic Certification

Published Sunday, September 27, 2020
by Kim Carrasquillo/Lorain County Community College
LifeCare Ambulance & Lorain County Community College Deliver First Apprenticeship Program In Ohio For EMT & Paramedic Certification

(LORAIN COUNTY, OHIO) – The week of September 20th through the 26th was First Responders Appreciation Week in Lorain County, Ohio and the team at LifeCare Ambulance Incorporated spent the week as it always does: responding to the needs of the community.

“We ‘never know what kind of calls are going to come through,’” LifeCare President and CEO David Richards said. “Our team ‘does amazing work to take care of people when they’re at their lowest.’”

Providing the best care possible requires continuing education for Employees, as well as offering them the opportunity to move up at the company, Richards said.

In between shifts as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at LifeCare, Doug O’Donnell and five of his Co-Workers quiz each other on material from the classes as part of the first Paramedic Apprenticeship Program in Ohio.

The Apprenticeship Program began this Fall as a partnership between Lorain County Community College (LCCC) and LifeCare to offer skills and certification to LifeCare Employees who are committed to advancing up the ranks at the Employee-owned company.

“The ‘opportunity’ to be an Apprentice ‘is great,’” O’Donnell, 21, said. “We ‘are able to move through our classes together, work together, and study together.’  ‘We are able to immediately see how what we are learning can be applied to our work.’”

O’Donnell and his colleagues are current EMTs working toward earning the one-year Emergency Medical Service (EMS)-Paramedic Certificate from LCCC, a credential that is vital to advancing to the position of Paramedic.

In addition to their classes, the group continues to work full time at LifeCare and gain on-the-job experience.

The LCCC/LifeCare Program also offers the opportunity for LifeCare Employees in wheelchair transportation and dispatch positions to earn an EMT Certificate, explained Richards.

Both Apprenticeship tracks are delivered at no cost to the Employee.

Offering advancement opportunities to Employee makes sense within the company model and in the larger community, Richards said.

“Ninety-percent of our Employees live in Lorain County," Richards said. "When they ‘increase their skill set, they increase their pay rate, and that advances all of Lorain County.’  We ‘encourage’ our Employees ‘to pursue a career path that’s very rewarding and also benefits the county.’  ‘In return, we benefit from less turnover and increased Employee satisfaction.’”

By earning credentials at LCCC, Employees increase their average pay almost immediately.

According to Richards, EMTs at LifeCare earn on average $35,000-$40,000 per year, and EMTs who complete this one-year program at LCCC, can see their take home wage increase 19% in their first year as a Paramedic.

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