A partnership between The City of Saint Paul, the Saint Paul Fire Department, Community Action Partnership of Ramsey County, and Inver Hills Community College
Like us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/EMSAcademy to follow our recruitment, outreach and other opportunities
What patients and other EMS professionals are saying about the BLS transport service:
"I just wanted to drop a line and say that my father said this was the best most pleasant ride he has ever had with any transport company. It was so nice to have someone to ride with him and speak to him as the ride went along... both [crew members] were so very courteous and patient friendly and kept my dads interests at heart". Family member feedback. Jan 2013______
The BLS crew was "sainted" in the St. Paul Pioneer press newspaper, this is what a patient's family wrote:
"A BIG Sainted to the St. Paul Fire and Rescue Unit.
We would like to thank the St. Paul Fire ..Unit that took our mother from Regions Hospital...
The roads were like a washboard...
You went above and beyond the call of duty to deliver her safe and sound to the care center. We appreciate all that you did for her."
"I can not say thank you enough to all the people on BLS unit 51 and engine 24 of St. Paul Fire Department, if it had not been for them helping us we would not have gotten the patient into her house... Please let the proper people know how much we appreciate all the help they gave us" - Allina EMT Dec. 2012
Welcome to the
Saint Paul Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Academy. We are an
innovative program designed to recruit, train, employ and retain
low-income diverse young adults in the City of Saint Paul. The
project includes three major components: an Intro to EMS class (pre-EMS), an intensive Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
certification and firefighter awareness course, a
non-emergency Basic Life Support scheduled ambulance transport service,
and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) courses offered by our
For more timely updates of current news, please visit us on Facebook:
Congratulations to the 10th Academy Graduates!!
August 26, 2014
Launched July 9, 2012
EMS Academy graduates have now been trained as CPR instructors and are offering HeartSaver American Heart Association CPR and first aid classes.
Tianna (pictured above was interviewed in this clip) Click here to listen to her thoughts on Saint Paul's Freedom House.
May 2014 - Lauren Haefemeyer (right) and Nela Kurtic (left) with Chief Butler. They are the first EMS academy graduates to continue on and successfully complete Paramedic training and an Associates in Science Degree in Emergency Medical Services from Inver Hills Community College. Congrats!!
Former Council Member Melvin Carter
Council Member Pat Harris
Council Member Kathy Lantry
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
Goodwill Easter Seals
Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota
About the program
The Saint Paul Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Academy is an innovative program designed to recruit, train, employ and retain low-income diverse young adults in the City of Saint Paul. The project conducts intensive Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification and firefighter awareness programs, operates a Basic Life Support ambulance transport service, and offers Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) courses for the City of Saint Paul residents.
This project is a collaboration between Inver Hills Community College, the City of Saint Paul Fire Department, the St. Paul Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Department, the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department, the St. Paul Public Schools HUBBS center, Regions Hospital, and Community Action Program of Washington and Ramsey County.
The Twin Cities metropolitan area is home to many diverse communities. Minneapolis boasts a >35% and Saint Paul a >40% non-Caucasian population. Unfortunately the emergency medical workforce serving them does not reflect the diversity of the community. Ambulance service leaders acknowledge a <2% non-Caucasian workforce. According to Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the demand for EMTs in the Twin Cities will increase 23% between 2009 and 2019. Saint Paul youth also have one of the largest achievement gaps in the country, and EMT classes had been only available in suburban MnSCU campuses >10mi from St Paul.
The EMS Academy aims to: (1) stop the cycle of poverty by creating education and long-term career opportunities for culturally diverse young adults from low-income households; (2) diversify the pool of certified EMTs and candidates for Minnesota hospitals and ambulance services (3) introduce new career opportunities in diverse communities and mirror community demographics within the health care workforce; and (4) inspire civic engagement, mentorship and volunteerism among Saint Paul’s youth.
The EMS Academy has four major components:
1. Pre-EMS classes are adult basic education courses taught over 10 weeks to prepare students to succeed in a college EMT course. These classes are taught by a St. Paul Public Schools-Adult Basic Education instructor and develop foundational study habits and reading comprehension. These classes are provided free of charge and all textbooks and materials are provided by the program. Successful completion of Pre-EMS bolsters applications for upcoming EMS Academies.
2. The EMT class is an intensive 10-14 week program that teaches all the necessary skills to obtain a National Registry EMT certification. Tuition is free and participants are paid an hourly wage of $7.50/hr to attend as part of the City of St. Paul Youth Job Corps program. Uniforms, textbooks, classroom equipment, and certification exam costs are also covered. Upon graduating from the EMS Academy, alumni earn National EMT certification, 9 college credits through Inver Hills Community College, and valuable job competency training.
3. The St. Paul Fire Basic Life Support (BLS) Unit is a non-emergency ambulance service that was created for EMT graduates of the academy. New EMTs gain valuable work experience while continuing their college education toward paramedic certification. The revenue generated by the service is re-invested into the project and has made the academy self-sustaining.
4. Participants have the option to earn CPR instructor certification for free. In turn the St. Paul Parks department employs these instructors to teach all of the CPR courses needed for city personnel and offers free or low-cost courses for the city residents. This additional certification gives additional employment options for the graduates and develops public speaking, facilitation, and leadership skills.
April 2013 will mark the graduation of the 7th EMT class. To date there have been 81 EMT graduates. The program boasts an 85% first-attempt pass rate on the National Registry Exam (higher than the on campus average). The participant (self-reported) demographics are as follows: 42% Black, 15% Hispanic, 11% Asian, 11% White, 9% Native American/American Indian, 10 % Multicultural, 2% Other, and 54% Female. Of these ~70% have found jobs in healthcare related fields and 50% continue to pursue further medical education. Seven out of the first ten BLS unit EMTs have found employment with local area ambulance services. The national median starting wage for an EMT is $31,000, a figure that surpasses the initial incomes of all of our applicants, and the federal poverty limits. Data collected from EMS Academy graduates indicate that within 2 years of completing the Academy, most graduates earn roughly 250% more than they did at enrollment. Our graduates have received endorsements from their employers, including HealthEast Medical Transportation, Allina Health EMS, North Ambulance, and Regions Hospital. All of which have contributed in-kind and some cash grants.
The EMS Academy provides the City of Saint Paul with an emergency medical service workforce that is more reflective of the community that is serves. Before the creation of the EMS Academy, Inver Hills graduated less than 1 EMT of color per class. After the first three Academies, we were able to accomplish in slightly over a year what would have taken 30 years with the status quo.
The majority of our graduates gain a sense of community engagement, and there are many instances in which they have demonstrated their conviction. Our EMTs have assisted with emergency medical services at the Minnesota State Fair, Twin Cities Marathon, and Rondo Days. Many Academy participants have a desire to serve their communities and EMS is one of the more rewarding and hands-on ways in which they can do so.
As of March 2013 Ambulance has completed more than 800 runs since its launch in July of 2012. During that time our EMTs have received numerous commendations from the patients that they served. Our multi-lingual and multicultural EMTs have demonstrated special sensitivity and care for a variety patients from the St. Paul community.The Saint Paul EMS Academy opens doors for young adults from low-income households to careers in emergency medical services & firefighting.
The EMS Academy is a collaboration by Inver Hills Community College, the Saint Paul Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO), the Saint Paul Fire Department (SPFD), Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Youth Job Corps (YJC), Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) Hubbs Center, and Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties (CAPRW).
Anecdotal evidence in the greater Twin Cities area would suggest that EMTs of non-Caucasian background are under-represented. Many barriers prevent low income city residents from becoming an EMT. Cost and location of training is difficult to access, academic and physical requirements are rigorous and not easily accessed. This results in few students of diverse ethnicity (Manson 2005 - Click here for research)
This is not a problem unique to Saint Paul, its Fire Department or the local ambulance services located in the metro area. EMS professionals nationwide are predominantly white. The Longitudinal Emergency Medical Technician Attributes & Demographics Study (LEADS) project is a longitudinal study developed and managed by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). This study (click here to see the complete report) shows 73% of the EMT workforce nationally to be white, and 79% of the paramedic workforce to be white.
Minnesota department of employment and economic development (DEED) data is projecting 17.8% growth in jobs for EMTs/paramedics from 2006-2016 (1,012 openings projected) and health care practitioners in general (61,000+ openings projected).(link)
Brief overview of the partner departments
The Saint Paul Fire Department (SPFD) is another lead partner and the fiscal agent for the project. SPFD provides the physical and operational resources, licensing, and billing for the BLS transport unit. The fire department provides the Station 51 training and ambulance station, now renamed: Freedom House. EMT students are also able to gain clinical experience through ride-alongs with SPFD paramedics.
The Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO) provides administrative and financial oversight to the EMS Academy EMT courses. HREEO provides recruitment through relationships with community organizations. HREEO is able to coordinate press releases for the Academy and has an in-house print center, River Print, which helps with the design and creation of promotional material. HREEO also staffs the AmeriCorps VISTA member. The VISTA coordinates and participates in recruitment and alumni support events. The VISTA will also be responsible for coordinating social media and facilitating communication between the EMS Academy and City Hall.
Inver Hills Community College is one of the lead partners of the EMS Academy. We provide instructional services but also have contributed in-kind donations of medical supplies and academic advising. Inver Hills faculty and staff volunteer as tutors for the courses but also mentor and supervise the BLS Unit ambulances. Inver Hills has loaned two ambulances to the Fire Department to operate the non-emergency transport service. Inver Hills helped convert the de-commissioned Fire Station that houses this project into a training center.
The Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties (CAP) assists in the recruitment and screening of applicants and assists with the selection process of EMS Academy students. CAP also provides a dedicated social worker who is able to help EMS Academy participants with soft skills training such as financial literacy, resume building, and interview skills. The social worker is also able to help support students in need of child care services, transportation, shelter, or other crises.
The Saint Paul Department of Parks and Recreation provides wages to summer EMS Academies through their Youth Job Corps program (YJC). YJC is designed for economically disadvantaged or at-risk youth and young adults who are interested in summer employment and career exploration. YJC also has loaned substantial funds to the BLS unit in order to cover startup costs. Additionally Parks and Recreation is runs the CPR instruction program.
Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) helps with recruitment and provides faculty for the Pre-EMS classes. SPPS is able to reach about 400 students through the Ronald M. Hubbs Center for Lifelong Education. SPPS provide co-teaching and re-teaching of effective study habits to prevent attrition based on lack of foundational skills or lack of academic confidence.
Regions Hospital has been a key partner, providing medical direction services for the EMT course and for the BLS unit. Regions hospital uses the BLS unit to discharge and transfer patients. Resident physicians also volunteer to help with instruction during the EMT class.
Program Recruitment and Eligibility:
City of St. Paul
Department of Human Rights &
Equal Economic Opportunity
15 W. Kellog Blvd.
280 City Hall
Saint Paul MN 55102
Media and Donations:
Saint Paul Fire Department questions:
- EMS10 Innovator's Award - Given by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) and sponsored by Physio-Control Corporation. Washington DC, 2013. Announcement in JEMS is linked here.
- In-Commons Local Government Innovation awards by the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute. Minneapolis, Minnesota; Spring 2013; The EMS academy was a finalist and was awarded $10,000 to continue it's work. Thanks to all who voted for us!! Here is the video they produced for the nomination, and Kyle's acceptance speech at the award ceremony
- Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Magazine article (December 2009) (look at Page 13)
- Graduation Video from the City of St. Paul Cable Channel (Sept. 15, 2009)
WCCO Article (July 15, 2009)
Saint Paul Legal Ledger Article (July 16, 2009)
Interested in a career as an EMT or Firefighter?
For more information please call 651-266-8920
or e-mail: email@example.com
Tuition is free to those who apply, are eligible and are selected;
If accepted into the EMS Academy, you will attend class and be paid an hourly wage
What does an EMT do? Where can an EMT work? and What are the income earnings I can expect as a certified EMT?
· EMT’s can be employed in hospitals, medical organizations, municipalities, assisted living facilities, factories, with paramedics, fire departments,…
· EMT Certification is required to be eligible for future paramedic training and to be hired as a Saint Paul Firefighter
· An EMT has the opportunity for advancement. There are a number of promotional opportunities and related positions including supervisors, instructors, dispatchers, and administrative directors. Sometimes an EMT will move into nursing or become a physician's assistant. Some even become physicians.
· In 2008, about 80 percent of EMTs and paramedics earned between $19,000 and $49,000.
· The top-paying employers for EMTs are state governments at about $46,000 median per year, and medical or diagnostic laboratories and home health care services at about $41,000.
!!!!! Earn while you learn !!!!!
July 13, 2009
Saint Paul Launches First-in-the-State Program to Attract Minority Youth to EMS, Firefighting Careers Pilot academy allows young adults to earn while they learn
SAINT PAUL– A new Emergency Medical Services Academy will open doors for young adults from low-income households to careers in EMS and firefighting while helping Saint Paul close the achievement gap for students of color and women.
The first-in-the-state program – an extension of Mayor Chris Coleman’s Ready for School, Ready for Life education initiative – is a pilot that will pay 40 participants up to 25 hours a week while they go through one of two 10-week emergency medical technician certification programs. The academy is designed to provide opportunities for young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 to learn job skills and qualify them to take the firefighter test in Saint Paul, broadening the pool of applications for the fire department.
“We have a fire department in Saint Paul that is second to none, and we want to make sure that the professionals who make up our department reflect our diverse community. People often express a desire to join their ranks, but in this economy, few people can afford to quit their jobs and pay for training,” Mayor Chris Coleman said. “This pilot project is a stepping stone that gives participants a leg up by offering a paid training that will provide valuable skills and lead to EMT certification.”
“The City of Saint Paul – along with a variety of public and private partners – plays a critical role in providing employment to young people preparing to enter the workforce and building career skills. By leveraging the opportunities available from several of those programs, we’ve created a unique program that will pay young adults from our neighborhoods to learn a life-saving skill, earn a professional certification, overcome a significant financial hurdle into the workforce, and compete for high paying jobs in health care, education, and the fire service,” Fire Chief Tim Butler said.
A collaboration among Saint Paul, Ramsey County, and Inver Hills and Century community colleges, the pilot academy will hold classes three days a week. Students will be paid $7.50 an hour, based on attendance and participation, up to 25 hours each week. After successfully completing the training, participants will receive a certificate in Emergency Medical Services and qualify to take the EMT certification exam.
According to the state Department of Employment and Economic Development’s 2006 projections, the need for EMTs and paramedics was expected to grow nearly 18 percent in the next decade. A 2008 Longitudinal Emergency Medical Technician Attributes & Demographics Study found that only 28 percent of EMTs and paramedics are women and less than 25 percent are people of color nationwide.
“Saint Paul firefighters are called on every day to assist people from different cultures, who speak different languages and practice different religions – and the clock is always ticking,” said Councilmember Melvin Carter III, who secured support for the academy and actively recruited young adults to take advantage of the pilot program.
“For us a diverse, multilingual fire department isn’t just nice to have, it is absolutely critical to sustain the high quality public safety services our department is known for.”
“This initiative strengthens our community's economic capacity, access to new careers, and participation in a workforce that has promotional opportunities across many fields. The academy is the start of a new beginning that will have a generational impact for many of these families,” said Luz María Frías, director of Saint Paul’s Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO). “We are grateful to all of the partners that made this happen.”
Financial support for this initiative was secured from The Saint Paul Foundation, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, Greater Twin Cites United Way, and The Otto Bremer Foundation as well as Allina Medical Transport, Fire Fighters United of Saint Paul, the Fire Supervisors Association and the Saint Paul NAACP. In addition, Saint Paul City Councilmembers Carter, Kathy Lantry, Russ Stark and Pat Harris each designated a portion of their COPP funds to make the academy possible.
As part of Mayor Coleman’s education initiative, the Emergency Medical Services Academy extends to older students and young adults workforce development and job skills training opportunities outside of the traditional classroom. With the health care sector representing one of the largest employment growth areas in the city, the academy is opening doors to living wage jobs for young adults growing up and living in Saint Paul.
“Our hospitals in Saint Paul have provided a huge growth sector for our economy. This academy will position our young adults for successful careers – with good pay and good benefits – in our hospitals, clinics, and fire department,” Mayor Coleman said.
Why FREEDOM HOUSE?
On April 16, 2012 the St. Paul Fire Department re-named Fire Station 51: FREEDOM HOUSE - Station 51, to honor the 1967 Paramedic Pioneers of Pittsburgh's Freedom House Ambulance.
The story of Freedom House from www.freedomhousedoc.com
In 1967 Phillip Hallen advanced the idea of high quality emergency medical service. Phillip was president of the Maurice Falk Medical Fund, a former ambulance driver, and Chairman of the OEO Health Committee. Morton Coleman, of Pitt’s Graduate School of Social Work, suggested combining an ambulance service with a program to train unemployed and underemployed black men and women as medical technicians. Searching for an owner/operator Hallen approached the recently formed Freedom House Enterprises, Inc. (FHE). FHE was an outgrowth of the United Negro Protest Committee located at 2027 Centre Avenue. In an unprecedented partnership with Dr. Peter Safar, known as the Father of CPR; a world leader in resuscitation research; and other pioneers in emergency medicine, Freedom House Paramedics began. Starting from a base in Presbyterian and Mercy Hospitals in 1968, they became the first Paramedics in the United States.
Over the years 1967 – 1975 FHE would recruit and train over 50 medical attendants; own five mobile intensive care units, crammed with some of the most sophisticated emergency medical equipment available at the time; operate a round the clock service; and provide nationally acclaimed emergency service. This service was not only provided to the Inner City Hill District residents, but to large percentage of the citizens of City of Pittsburgh.
During the eight years of the Freedom House Service, there was a mounting pride and espirit de corps among the paramedics. Hill District residents, including patients and their families, applauded the FH service. It wasn’t that long ago that the residents of the Hill could not get anyone to come into their area to pick up the sick and ill. Not only did they get an Ambulance Service but also they received the most sophisticated emergency care of the time. Jerry Esposito, an independent ambulance operator devoted to the FHE mission, summed it all up when he said. “This was a poverty program that was meant to fail, instead not only did it work but it helped to propel Emergency Care into another arena.”
The Freedom House Paramedics had come a long way from those black unemployable individuals that were first recruited for this project. A substantial number had earned bachelor’s degrees, a few had master’s degrees, and three were in pre-med. All were functioning in the field at a level comparable to the best Paramedics in the nation. But the political winds were shifting. The city decided to launch its own mobile intensive care service. There was no room in the city plans for an independent entity called Freedom House. By early autumn 1975, it was clear that city funding would not be renewed. Negotiations began to sell FHE equipment to the city and to facilitate the hiring of FHE personnel into the city system. It was a bitter time for the Freedom House Paramedics. For eight years they had battled for survival. For eight years, they had stuck with the organization while they watched white trainees leave to assume high administrative positions with city and county emergency medical service agencies. During those years the FHE was the proving ground for national standards of emergency care.
It was a time of considerable anxiety. For eight years the city administration had been the adversary. The city police had been the symbol of frustration. Now nearly 30 Freedom House technicians would have to go to that administration for work. If hired they would have to don uniforms uncomfortably similar to those worn by the police. But the alternative was unemployment, so the majority of FHE personnel elected to apply for work with the city. For its part, the city administration, anxious to avoid a confrontation and another “ambulance controversy’ in the press, offered a Memorandum of Agreement to Freedom House. In this memorandum, signed by the Mayor, the city agreed to provide jobs to all interested FHE Paramedics, without requiring needless recertification. The city agreed to provide a training program for basic level paramedics, with an opportunity to repeat the course in the event of failure. And the city agreed to offer FHE dispatchers a course in dispatching as well as employment. Over the ensuing months all of these promises were broken. The Freedom House paramedics, who had been trained to the most exacting standards in the nation, were compelled to go through yet another course: a course that did not meet federal requirements. The FH paramedics were not given an opportunity to repeat course work if they could not pass the first time. The FHE dispatchers found themselves assigned to frisking prisoners in the city jail.
By October 1976, a year after Freedom House ceased operation, only 12 of the 26 persons who had elected to work for the city remained on the city payroll. What of the other 14? Some found work outside the health professions as secretaries, salespeople, automechanics, security guards, one as an orderly at a local hospital. The rest are back on the streets, looking for work and remembering.
Note: As of this day in 2013, there is no mention of the Freedom House Paramedics in any of the training materials for Paramedics.
- Renaming Ceremony on St. Paul City Cable
- Article in JEMS regarding the renaming.
- Documentary about Freedom House: www.freedomhousedoc.com
(c)2014 - Inver Hills Community College
This page created and maintained by Dave Page, Inver Hills Community College - Emergency Medical Services Department Faculty