Hunter Ambulance and Global Medical Response celebrate 80 new EMT graduates in New York

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On May 2, 80 participants of the Earn While You Learn program graduated at a ceremony at LaGuardia Community College.
Photo courtesy Amie O’Hearn

Global Medical Response and Hunter Ambulance celebrated a new batch of graduate EMTs in Queens during a ceremony at CUNY LaGuardia on May 2.

The 80 graduates were part of a unique program by Global Medical Response that paid them to “Earn While You Learn” as they trained to become EMTs. They were trained in a program hosted by CUNY. Upon graduating, each graduate will each receive a raise and a promotion. The celebration comes as the country faces a critical EMT shortage and continues to battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The graduating class includes representatives from Queens, the Bronx, Long Island and Westchester, as well as the 1,000th graduate from the national program overall. The program has been a rousing success across the area after AMR and its parent company, Global Medical Response, acquired Hunter Ambulance last summer. EMTs who graduate from the program will be eligible to work for AMR, Hunter Ambulance or Crowd Rx, which provides high-profile EMS services at New York City sites and landmarks such as Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium.

“Today is a remarkable day for emergency medical services in the New York community,” said Mike Addario, Global Medical Response’s vice president of Operations for New York. “I am delighted to see the continued growth of the Earn While You Learn program, exemplified … by the graduation of our 1,000th student. We are attracting exceptionally talented EMTs to join our workforce and training them for careers that will prepare them for an exciting future.”

“As someone who plays, works and lives in the communities represented by today’s graduates, I can say I feel safer today because of the 80 new EMTs who are watching over my district and all of New York,” said state Assemblyman Kenny Burgos, of Soundview, who joined the ceremony. “You are our heroes. Communities like mine don’t have a hospital. We look forward to making sure programs like Earn While You Learn thrive.”

Following successful completion of the program, the graduates are given the opportunity to become full-time employees with a commensurate pay increase.

“LaGuardia Community College has been providing top-notch emergency medical services training for 35 years, and we are pleased to continue that long-standing tradition through our work with American Medical Response,” said LaGuardia Community College Vice President of Adult and Continuing Education Sunil B. Gupta. “Today’s graduates, and those of future cohorts, help reduce the shortage of vital EMTs in communities throughout New York City and beyond.”

AMR launched the Earn While You Learn program as a way to ease the financial transition for those wanting to become EMS professionals. The innovative program allows for paid on-the-job training while taking the necessary certification courses to become EMTs.

“The graduation of so many highly trained EMS professionals is great to see. GMR is to be commended for making the training easy with their … program,” said Dr. Jason Golbin, chief medical officer at Catholic Health. “At Catholic Health, we’ve been working with GMR’s Hunter Ambulance for years, ensuring patients in emergency situations get the best possible care. Together, we’re making a critical difference in the lives and outcomes of our patients.”

Earn While You Learn has graduated more than 1,000 EMTs since its inception in late 2018 in Buffalo, New York, and received a national honor from the American Ambulance Association in the best Employee Programs Category. Similar programs have also been launched across the nation including in Alabama, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.