News & Updates

New apprenticeship provides pathway to careers with Boston EMS

May 30, 2018

The City of Boston has launched and registered a new Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) apprenticeship with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development that provides paid, hands-on learning for new hires with Boston EMS. The apprenticeship will include a six-month EMT-Recruit academy and one year of field work as a Boston EMS EMT. The apprenticeship is part of a larger effort and partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD) to help Boston EMS enhance recruitment efforts, attract diverse candidates, and open pathways to good pay, benefits, and career advancement for Boston residents.

“Apprenticeship lays out an ideal career pathway for residents who want to work hard and learn a vocation, but who may not be able to afford a costly degree,” said Trinh Nguyen, director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development. “In this way, the apprenticeship model plays a key role in the Mayor’s vision to expand economic opportunity for city residents. Apprentices with Boston EMS can earn while they learn, gain industry-recognized credentials, and benefit from built-in wage increases that match their skills advancement.”

“Training is essential for ensuring the best possible patient care and all hazards response capability,” explained Boston EMS Chief of Department, James Hooley. “The apprenticeship formalizes our longstanding investment in the education and mentorship of our new hires.”

The EMT apprenticeship has two components:

1. Boston EMS Recruit Academy. In the six-month academy, spend three months in the classroom learning, including additional clinical skills, situational awareness, all hazard preparedness, and documentation training, as well as three months in the field providing patient care while being supported by field training officers. Pay is 80% of a full-time EMT’s wages.
2. Probationary employment period. Apprentices are promoted to the rank of EMT, gaining additional field experience on ambulance shift assignments in their probationary first year of employment with Boston EMS. Pay is approximately $57,000 per year, plus benefits.
These training components, in addition to a pre-apprenticeship EMT course that prepares applicants for certification, count toward the 2,000 hours required for apprenticeship.

City Academy, an OWD-run training initiative that prepares residents for City jobs, is committed to supporting Boston EMS in recruiting residents for the EMT pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship. City Academy prepares aspiring EMTs for apprenticeship with a bridge course to develop their CPR, first aid, and job readiness skills. The initiative also covers the costs of the prerequisite EMT course, which ­– at $750 or more – can otherwise pose a barrier to low- or middle-income residents.

The recruitment of Boston residents is expected to help Boston EMS better reflect the diversity of the city it serves and attract more bilingual applicants. All candidates who successfully complete the Boston EMS EMT hiring process, which includes a written and practical exam, will be enrolled in the EMT apprenticeship.   

OWD coordinated the registration of the EMT apprenticeship with the state’s Division of Apprenticeship Standards. The new apprenticeship status of the Boston EMS training program makes it eligible for funding sources earmarked for apprenticeship – a cause that enjoys wide bipartisan support. Last year, for example, Congress approved $95 million for apprenticeships, which the U.S. Department of Labor is expected to allocate this year. Another benefit of registered apprenticeship is that the state monitors the program for adherence to federal standards. This verification could make it easier for the EMT apprenticeship to establish articulation agreements with local colleges to award academic credit for apprentices’ workplace learning.

OWD has facilitated similar agreements through the Greater Boston American Apprenticeship Initiative – a wide-ranging effort among the City of Boston, local colleges, job training programs, and labor unions to expand apprenticeship opportunities for Boston-area residents. The initiative provides pre-apprenticeship training and apprenticeship placement in Boston’s thriving construction and hospitality industries.

OWD is an affiliate of the Boston Planning & Development Agency.

About the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development
The Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (OWD) is an innovative agency within the Boston Planning & Development Agency that seeks to ensure the full participation of all Boston residents in the city's economic vitality and future. OWD funds and oversees programs that promote workforce development through education, jobs training, apprenticeships, financial coaching, career pathways, literacy initiatives, and the like. Please visit OWD.Boston.Gov to learn more about OWD's work.

About Boston Emergency Medical Services
Boston EMS, the provider of emergency medical services for the City of Boston, is committed to compassionately delivering excellent pre-hospital care and to protecting the safety and health of the public. Boston EMS' vision is to expand upon our role as critical public safety agency that delivers exceptional pre-hospital emergency medicine in an urban environment.

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