Superior Ambulance Opens Career Training Center in Lawndale
Superior Ambulance is creating a unique “Earn and Learn” program to break down barriers that prevent people from starting a career in emergency medical services. The company opened the new center on June 14 and will begin hosting classes in July.
The program will allow people to earn money while they begin their EMS careers as an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR).
“The EMR program provides an opportunity to both earn and learn, so people can earn an income as an Emergency Medical Responder and Superior will pay for them to take classes to get licensed as an EMT,” said Kim Godden, Vice President of Legal, Government Relations and Corporate Compliance.
EMRs will be paid while receiving over 50 hours of training, including CPR and defensive driving training. They are permitted to drive an ambulance, assist with patient movement, and be present while an EMT or paramedic is providing patient care. Superior will support EMRs if they are interested in taking classes to advance within the emergency medical field to positions such as EMT and paramedic.
Vakellye Reed, who has been with Superior since 2008, was one of the first licensed EMRs in Illinois. “You learn a lot of skills while being on the ambulance and it teaches you a lot,” Reed said. “There’s just something about being on that ambulance that gives you adrenaline. It makes me want to be a paramedic.” Reed will begin EMT classes this August while continuing her work as an EMR.
“Superior has a history of hiring from the communities we serve, beginning with our first training center in Homan Square in the ’90s,” said Dave Hill III, president and CEO of Superior Ambulance. “We are excited to continue this tradition and bring this program to North Lawndale to teach and hire new EMRs and give people the opportunity to work in the emergency medical field.”
The new center in Lawndale was created to increase diversity in the EMS industry. EMTs and paramedics are predominantly white, and in 2019 only 10.5 percent of EMTs and paramedics were African American/Black and only 11.5 percent were Hispanic/Latino, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Increasing the percentage of members of minority groups in EMS roles is essential to providing high-quality emergency medical care in underserved areas. Superior aims to reduce the obstacles to starting an EMS career faced by members of these groups and increase diversity in the field.
“We will work with community leaders and take our EMT classes into other communities to remove barriers for all individuals who want to work in EMS,” Godden said. “We are grateful for the attendance of local elected officials including Alderman Scott, Representative Will Davis, Commissioner Dennis Deer, Commissioner Alma Anaya, and Representative Lakeshia Collins, and for their support of the training center and the passage of legislation to allow for this program.”
The new center is located at 3936 W Roosevelt Rd. in Chicago. Prospective students and job seekers can click here to find out more about the Earn and Learn EMR program.