Sanford, NDSCS introduce EMS apprenticeship to combat shortage

Sanford Health partners with NDSCS that would pay students for tuition, books and uniforms.

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) — Five students at the North Dakota State College of Science will have an opportunity to earn while they learn through an EMS apprenticeship.

The money is coming from Sanford and the partnership with the school has been ongoing for years.

Officials are looking at this as a pilot program and an opportunity to see if it can expand.

“We dipped our toes in the EMT program here a couple of years ago. We kind of played on that a little bit and now this time we just expanded it to include all the way through paramedic. We looked at other programs where we’re doing similar things in different parts of the country. If this program runs well, we want to be able to provide other options and make adaptations to provide other areas or opportunities for people to join this kind of program down the line,” said Ron Lawler, the Director of EMS Education at Sanford Health.

Once they graduate, they’ll keep working as full-time paramedics for three years.

To qualify, students have to be at least 18 years old and enrolled at NDSCS with at least 24 college credits.

Sanford says recruiting emergency personnel is a challenge facing many organizations in the last several years.

They’re using social media as a recruitment tool.

“The pool of people that are available keeps getting smaller. It gets harder to attract people when they have other options. It just makes it harder to try to make the message stand out with all the noise,” Lawler says.

“In 2021, according to the data provided by the Emergency Medical Services regulatory board in Minnesota, there’s about a three thousand person deficit to the number of certificates that expired in Minnesota to the number of certificates that were issued in the state. As the demand for emergency services go up, we’re seeing the interest in that line of work and career path go down,” said Chad Mickelson, the Director of EMS Operations at Sanford.

They hope this program would lessen the financial burden that may deter some people from pursuing a dream.

“The kind of people we are looking for are people that are good with people. We’re looking for people that have customer service experience, people that have good college records, people that have the ability to get through a college program but are ultimately able to interact with people. That’s half the job, or better, is interacting with people. You can’t find out what’s wrong with someone unless you talk to people,” said Lawler.

He says they plan to add more applicants next year depending on this year’s success.

The deadline to apply is May 12 while classes start in June.

Categories: Health, Local News, Minnesota News, North Dakota News