The City of Vineland, in partnership with Rowan College of South Jersey and the Cumberland County Department of Workforce Development, has launched a new program that will pay recruits while training for a career as an emergency medical technician (EMT). According to city officials, the program was developed to address a growing need locally and throughout the state for certified EMTs. The first 12 recruits were sworn in last month by Mayor Anthony Fanucci at a ceremony in Vineland City Council Chambers.
Classes at the Rowan College of South Jersey Cumberland Campus began on January 14 and end February 28. The course is part of a new program offered through the Division of Career and Technical Education. The course is an intensive hybrid with computer instruction in the morning and clinical instruction in the afternoon. Certification for the program is through the NJ Department of Health, Office of Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Medical Technician – Basic.
“We meet regularly with county and regional entities in order to identify potential areas of cooperation and shared services opportunities that can improve services and often reduce costs for Vineland taxpayers,” said Mayor Fanucci. “This program is exciting because not only does it allow individuals to pursue a new career path while receiving a paycheck, it also provides the community with a conduit of new talent in a field which is in high demand.”
“This group of recruits is truly making history for the Fire Department EMS Division and the City of Vineland,” said Chief of Fire Luigi Tramontana Jr. “They are the first group of EMT trainees to be hired by the city without a certification and then sent to school to obtain the needed certification. With the shortage of EMTs prevalent everywhere and the administration thinking outside the box, this program was able to come to fruition. This will not only enhance emergency medical services which benefits the community, it will allow the EMS Division to become more efficient while creating a safer working environment for the employees.”
According to Vineland EMT Chief Kelly Soracco, “The recruits will be in the classroom from 9 a.m. to noon daily receiving online learning with an in-person proctor. After lunch, they continue with hands-on learning from 1 to 5 p.m. After successful completion of testing, they will begin the ‘ride along’ portion of their training that extends over 100 hours. We are going to invest in you, pay for you to go to school, and pay for you to get these skills with a job waiting for you upon certification. It is a win-win situation for all.”
As part of the program, trainees will be paid $15 an hour. Following certification, their salary will be set under the terms of the negotiated contract with the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics Local R2-75. The initial group of recruits includes a mother/daughter team, two veterans, three volunteer firefighters, and a Class1 Police Officer.
“Paying recruits helps attract quality candidates to a job that is in high demand across the country,” said director of Fire and EMS Rich Franchetta. “In the current labor market, we need to be as proactive and creative as we can be in our recruiting, encouraging individuals to come take a look and giving them a behind-the-curtain experience on the benefits, both personally and for the community, of a career in emergency services. We are grateful to have partnered with both the County Workforce Development office and Rowan College in fostering this program and appreciate their help in seeing it come to fruition.”
“The Cumberland County Department of Workforce Development takes great pride in ensuring our county residents are ready for jobs in critical and emerging industries that pay a family supporting wage. We are proud to partner with The City of Vineland and Rowan College of South Jersey to offer this EMT program to meet the needs of our community and provide life-saving training for incoming first responders,” said Allison Spinelli, executive director.