“The unicorn program.” That is how a recent student with the Bennington Rescue Squad described the organization’s year-long apprenticeship program.
Bill Camarda, Deputy Executive Director, oversees the only EMS apprenticeship program registered with the state of Vermont.
Bennington rescue launched its program in December 2018 and is in the process of interviewing applicants for its third cohort, said Camarda.
The program has “opened up a new pipeline of employees," said Camarda.
Nationally, EMS organizations have struggled to find employees. According to Camarda, the work is demanding and training is expensive. EMT training costs between $800 to $1,200. The profession also comes with a high turnover rate or approximately 15 to 20 percent a year. As the labor market in Vermont has tightened, the problem has gotten worse.