The future of recruitment in emergency services is changing, and Burke County is getting a head start.
Burke County EMS and Western Piedmont Community College are partnering to offer the region’s first EMS Academy next year, where participants will earn all the credentials they need to to be paramedics.
The twist is participants will go through the program on the county’s payroll, getting paid for 40 hours a week while they learn the ins and outs of EMS work and get hands-on, field experience, said Burke County EMS Maj. Nikki Hudson.
When they finish the program, they’ll be first in line to fill positions at Burke County EMS.
The entire program comes at no cost to the students, Hudson said.
This is the second academy of its kind in the state, as far as Hudson is aware. “We’re going to take people that have no EMS credentials but want to get into the field of emergency services and become a paramedic, we’re going to put them on payroll and send them to school,” Hudson said.