LANCASTER, Pa. — Lancaster EMS graduated the first cohort of its “Learn While You Earn” program on Dec. 14.
The program was created to create a more regular pipeline of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) amid a challenging hiring environment. The industry has struggled with a shortage of EMTs and paramedics for several years, and the COVID-19 dramatically worsened the shortage.
The graduating class consists of seven people.
“It means a lot because I’m going to try a medic again so this is the start of my history in the United States,” said graduate Brian Lopez, who worked as a medic in Puerto Rico for nine years before moving to Pennsylvania.
The graduates will next need to pass the state test to become officially certified. Then they can start working as EMTs as early as January.
Lancaster EMS is now accepting applications for its spring program, which will accept up to 12 students.