EMS, GCHS partner to offer EMT class to seniors

By Rose Egelhoff • The Times-Independent

Grand County High School seniors will soon be able to take an emergency medical technician class and become certified EMTs under a new program offered by the high school and Grand County Emergency Medical Services. The program will likely start the second trimester of this year, GCHS Principal Stephen Hren said.

“With this program, the goal is that if they turn 18 when they’re finished, they take the test and get their entry level EMT license,” Hren said. “It’s providing an opportunity for our students to be employable right after they finish with high school. It would be something that would be of benefit to our community for sure.”

The course will take two class periods for two trimesters, a substantial commitment.

“We’re working with CTE to make sure that we’re setting students up for success,” said EMS Education Director Will Barnhardt. “… [It’s] over 200 hours of instruction, which is actually slightly longer than a normal class just to make sure that we have time to spend one-on-one with students, an extra study hall. A lot of the time for our adult learners we expect to be unsupervised outside-classroom time. We managed to pull some of that into the classroom so they have that direct feedback. So when they have questions, we’re right there to answer them rather than pushing them to write emails or catch the instructor after class.”

According to Barnhardt, the class is a “win-win-win.” The students get a marketable skill, the community is safer as more community members learn to provide advanced first aid, and EMS has the chance to recruit much-needed personnel who have roots in the community.

Hren added that faculty member Jim Stocks has been working to ensure that CTE programs address what is needed in the community. “For our current technical programs, [CTE Director] Jim Stocks has done a really good job of knowing our community … what is needed in the community,” Hren said. “ … Having kids leave the school with marketable [certifications] so they are able, if they choose, to get into the job market and start working right after high school, something viable maybe to help them pay their way through technical school or college.”

In addition, becoming an EMT endows students with a sense of responsibility, Barnhardt said. “Here we’ve got folks for maybe the first time that are going to be dealing with life-threatening, life-changing situations and having the responsibility of dealing with those and handling those is a change in mindset for a lot of folks. It’s a great maturing experience.”