Pflugerville Workforce Solutions Grant Provides Funding for Training Program for EMTs, Preparing Students for High-Demand Jobs
4 Feb 2023
The training program is a partnership between the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation and the Pflugerville Independent School System
The Pflugerville Community Development Corporation (PCDC) is the driving force for an innovative program in partnership with Pflugerville Career and Technical Education (CTE) to provide high school students with an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification course, all made possible by a High Demand Job Training Grant (HDJT) from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).
The EMT Training program was started by the school district and the local fire department five years ago, but it had minimal equipment and served only a very small number of students.
“The need to create a pipeline of EMT certified applicants for the fire department was one of the key reasons we wanted to grow this program,” said Madison. “We also realized that without the necessary equipment, the current program would not survive,” said Amy Madison, PCDC Executive Director.
Three years ago, the PCDC began exploring an application to provide equipment and supplies to the CTE program through the HDJT matching grant offered by the TWC. Several students who are graduates of the program have already been hired by the fire department, so the program provides workforce solutions in the community.
“Getting the program off the ground was a challenge because it required cooperation from five different public entities in the state, region and community, but now that it has come together, it is a fluid and highly successful program,” said Amy Madison, PCDC Executive Director.
According to Madison, the individual partnerships the PCDC had with the Workforce Solutions Capital Area Board, TWC, Pflugerville Fire Department (ESD2) and the Pflugerville Independent School System (Pfisd) were strong, so they simply used these relationships to create the synergy that made the grant application possible.
The first grant request took the partnership over six months to complete and another three months to receive the matching grant award letter. Recently, the partnership completed and submitted their second grant application to the TWC, and received the grant award letter all in less than two months.
“In 2018, we provided the school district with $300,000 in equipment and supplies, and that gave the program the staying power it needed, she said. “This past year, we infused an additional $300,000 into the school district for supplies and equipment to create an enhanced EMT program that trains students in a single-year to sit for the exam and get their certification,” said Madison.
According to the Pflugerville ISD, this program has now become the top high school EMT training program in Texas. And, the new equipment has not only provided better training for the students, but it has nearly tripled the number of students that can be trained each year. As a result, this past year 56 students were trained as EMTs.
Madison said that having such a strong and well-regarded program is one of the reasons students are interested in enrolling in the course.
“No one has a program like this in the state, and the Pfisd staff hear from other schools regularly who want to replicate the program,” said Madison. “We will continue to enhance it as much as we can to provide that “near-real” experience. The better the equipment, the better training we can provide to the students.”
Funding has been used to purchase mannequins for the students to work with that are high-tech and reactive and enable the students to work in a variety of simulated circumstances.
“The Mannequins we purchased can even simulate birthing,” said Madison, “and give students a hands-on learning experience.”
What is next for the program? Madison hopes to have the funds to purchase an ambulance to further enhance the program in the coming year.
“A real ambulance would be a huge asset to the program, and create an exciting, hands-on learning environment,” said Madison.
“This program has truly made a powerful difference already,” said Madison. “Two students saved someone's life because they had been certified by this program. This kind of training keeps on giving.”
Looking toward the future, this program will have a long-lasting impact.
“It’s not just about today, it’s about what we do collectively tomorrow that we keep focusing on with this grant. We hope to put this program on wheels, as students get first-hand experience using a decommissioned ambulance, and the invaluable impact of the training in the actual vehicle,” shared Madison. “The ambulance will make it possible to unlock this opportunity for all the high schools in the Pflugerville Independent School District. Right now the program is at one high school, but when it’s on wheels, we can expand the option to take this class to other locations,,” said Madison.
“Every year we dream a little bigger with our community partners,” said Madison. “We are now looking at using these funds to purchase a decommissioned ambulance - and make it even more real for these students who are our future workforce.”