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From GEDs to EMTs: YouthBuild program helps students along career path

A grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation will help six students obtain their GEDs and train to become emergency medical technicians at the Mohawk Ambulance Service in Schenectady.

The $50,000 grant awarded to the Northeast Parent and Child Society's YouthBuild Schenectady Program during a ceremony at Mohawk Ambulance Service, Thursday, Sept. 11, provides funds so students can obtain the education necessary to become certified EMTs.

Students accepted into the program had to attend a group informational

session, find an adult sponsor, complete an application, take a test of adult basic education and interview with staff.

Of the six participants, four are women, according to Laura Alpert, vice president of communications for the Northeast Parent and Child Society. She said this is unique of the profession.

Northeast partnered with Schenectady County Community College to offer GED classes to the two students who have not obtained their GEDs. The students will also intern at Mohawk Ambulance Service where they will complete 120 hours of observation and patient care, which is comparable to other EMT programs.

In addition to the internship and classes toward their GED, students will complete a four-credit EMT course through SCCC and participate in leadership development training.

Mohawk Ambulance Service will offer jobs to any student who successfully completes the program and passes the state emergency medical technician exam.

Alpert said the students would receive an annual salary of $30,000 for 48 hours of work, which is typical of an EMT.

We look at this as a 16-week job interview, said Carol Brandt, director of professional development at the ambulance service. "If these young people do good work, there's a job waiting for them."

"Our partnership with the Wal-Mart Foundation is making Schenectady a better place to live," said Jim Johans, CEO and executive director of the Northeast Parent and Child Society.

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