LaGuardia Community College Wins Award for Innovative EMT Training Program

Long Island City, NY—December 4, 2013–LaGuardia Community College’s Supporting Adults through Vocational EMT Training (S.A.V.E. EMT Program) has won the Continuing Education Association of New York’s (CEANY) 2013 Exemplary Non‑Credit Program Development Award. CEANY bestows the annual awards in recognition of outstanding contributions made by continuing education professionals as well as exemplary programs, students and educational partners across an array of domains.

The S.A.V.E. EMT Program prepares students to become certified emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who will provide basic emergency care to victims of traumatic and/or medical emergencies and transport them to the appropriate medical facility. The program is designed especially for non-traditional adult students who face educational, economic and other disadvantages that can impede or prevent the completion of this rigorous professional course of study. The program entails a comprehensive intake process; team-taught classes that include an EMT faculty member and an adult educator with expertise in teaching developing adult learners; content-based/contextualized basic skills instruction that allows students to deepen their mastery of EMT training materials while developing and reinforcing solid study strategies as well as academic skills in math and literacy; and job-readiness counseling and resources for family and economic support.

Over the past 26 years, LaGuardia’s traditional EMT Program has served many students who are academically prepared to handle a rigorous healthcare training curriculum. However, many other prospective students could not gain admission to or keep pace with the course as designed. The S.A.V.E. EMT Program is a gateway for low income and low skilled adults into the high demand profession of emergency medical services. The focus on math and literacy skills in the context of vocational training (called the NYBEST model, based on Washington State’s Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) initiative) has proven successful. In the past four years, approximately 240 students have been enrolled in the training, and 85% completed and passed the NY State EMT certification exam. Eighty percent of those were able to find employment with ambulance companies, the FDNY, and hospitals in the metro area. Now more New Yorkers have access to this career pathway, are realizing their career goals, and are serving New York City in providing pre-hospital emergency care.

“By redesigning our workforce training programs to better serve the needs of adult learners and out-of-school young adults, LaGuardia Community College is providing low skilled and underemployed New Yorkers with the opportunity to train for new and meaningful careers as First Responders while simultaneously helping to meet the demand for highly skilled and qualified health care workers in our region,” said Amy Dalsimer, Director of LaGuardia’s Pre-College Academic Programming.

“This model of integrating adult basic education with technical education, which has been so successful with EMT training, can be replicated with other allied health programs to allow students access to employment and career opportunities—opportunities that will change their lives and benefit their families for the long term,” said Christine Alvarez, Director of LaGuardia’s Prehospital Care Programs.

 The award was presented at CEANY’s annual conference, which recently took place in Ellenville, New York.

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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit to learn more.