HELENA — Helena College’s Fire and Emergency Services program was revamped in 2021. And this year they’re offering a free EMT class for high schoolers.
The changes in recent years pivoted the program to focus on general education classes and focus the fire classes on professional certification.
The program has offered an EMT class in the past. But this year a 5-month EMT class, from January to May, is being offered for free to high school students.
“You know, we’re ultimately trying to create a productive workforce and great careers for our community. So, what a great way to do it. The grant is supporting us, and hopefully, those students will have a spot here in the community as emergency medical providers,” says Fire and Emergency Services Program instructor, Lyn Stimpson.
The class is able to be offered for free through a grant from the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation. 13 of the 18 students are high school students.
Nick Burkland, an adjunct instructor at Helena College, says that this is the most high schoolers he’s ever seen in the class.
“The grant has definitely helped us get more high school students. In the past, we've had one to three high school students per class. But this grant has given us the opportunity to bump that up to 13,” says Burkland.
John Settle, one of the high school students in the class, says that this class can offer students insight into what careers exist after high school.
“I think it gives young people, like, a sense of meaning kinda. Like, some people might not know what they want to do, and then programs like this help them find out if they want to do something like this,” says Settle.
The program is about to have the first graduating class from its changed 2-year curriculum this upcoming May. Two of those students already have jobs lined up at career fire departments.