A fast track to a career in healthcare

EMT

Pictured, left to right: Instructor/Advanced EMT Matt Bock, EMT training program graduates/PWH EMTs, Tanner Moore and Craig Vance.

Three years ago, Columbia City High School principal Jennifer Reiff was struck with an idea. Her high school offered programming that allowed students to complete a firefighting certification program with great results. Students were graduating with the skills necessary to go directly into the workforce, filling much-needed positions within local fire departments. Reiff wondered if such a program could be expanded to include the high-demand field of emergency medical responders.

This brainstorm has culminated in a successful partnership between several area high schools, Ivy Tech Community College and Parkview Whitley Hospital. Today, the Pathways EMT Training Program gives area high school students the opportunity to graduate as nationally-certified EMTs. In some cases, these students have been hired directly by Parkview Whitley Hospital upon graduation.

Matt Bock, Advanced EMT at Parkview Whitley Hospital, has been the program’s primary instructor since its inception in 2017. With more than 21 years of experience as an emergency responder, Bock also has a master’s degree in youth ministry from Indiana Wesleyan and serves as a youth minister at the North Scipio United Methodist Church. As the primary instructor for the program, Bock combines his ability to communicate and connect with young people while teaching them vital, real-world emergency medical skills.

Bock is passionate about finding students who have real potential for success in the field and doesn’t accept every student who shows interest. Students must go through an application process and are evaluated by grade point average and the difficulty of their high school courses. In addition, they participate in an interview with Bock. The veteran EMT said he is looking for more than just what a student can put on an application form.

“I am looking for individuals with a caring spirit who can put others and their needs first,” Bock said.  “I want kids who are committed to the program and are excited about giving back to their community.”

Currently, there are 16 students enrolled in the program from area high schools including Columbia City and Churubusco. Upon completion of the program, which provides dual credit college credit through Ivy Tech, students sit for the national accreditation EMT test which allows them to work as an EMT anywhere in the United States. Bock is especially proud that approximately 80% of the students pass the national EMT accreditation test at the end of the Pathways program. According to Bock, the average passing rate for other EMT programs in the country is around 50%.

Parkview Whitley has already reaped the benefits of their investment. Two recent graduates, Tanner Moore and Craig Vance, serve as full-time EMTs for the department. Another bonus to those who are hired within Parkview- the system will continue to invest in their success by paying for schooling for their advanced paramedic licenses.

“We are really proud of this program and its success,” Brett Steffen, Parkview Whitley Emergency Medical Services Manager, said. “We know the program works because our graduates have gone on to achieve great things in their respective fields and continue to give back to their communities. It really is a win-win for everyone involved.”

 

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