BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Hoping to attract students who might not consider attending a technical school, the Upper Bucks Area Vocational Technical School will offer an Emergency Management Technician certification class in February.
The new program at the Bedminster Township facility is aimed at students who are not enrolled at the vo-tech, and is open to all seniors in the school's three sending school districts: Palisades, Pennridge and Quakertown.
The vo-tech Joint Operating Committee, which is composed of three directors from each of the districts, voted 8-0, with one member absent, to award a $60,000 contract to an outside firm to teach the class.
Michael Nonnemacher, a certified paramedic and instructor with Safety Training Associates of Emmaus, will co-ordinate the pilot program.
"We already teach this class through Lehigh Valley Hospital in conjunction with Lehigh Carbon Community College," Nonnemacher said.
Warren said available slots would be opened up to adult students. "If a class isn't full, we can't offer seats to tuition students, but we'd certainly fill those seats with interested adult learners," Warren said.
According to Alison Schaffer, adult education coordinator for the vo-tech, the EMT certification tuition would cost about $720 for an adult student.
Quakertown Community School District Superintendent Lisa Andrejko said she is pleased with the plan.
"This course is a perfect opportunity for young people to get involved in the medical field, and to promote volunteerism in our districts," Andrejko said.
Vo-tech Director David Warren said if the spring pilot which already has a dozen students enrolled was successful, the school would launch two sections of the class in September.
"This will be a one-semester, 120-hour class, leading to an EMT certification," he said.
Warren said the details are being hammered out regarding the number of weekdays students would have to commit to the class. During the semester, students could pick a morning or afternoon session.
"This is a great way for students who do not attend the vo-tech to come here, take a certification course, and have the experience of occupational education. We've had a lot of requests to offer something like this," Warren said.
Warren said plans were under way to offer similarly styled courses to students not enrolled in vo-tech.
"We offer pharmaceutical technology and radiology as courses students can take without committing to a three-year program," Warren said.
Melinda Rizzo is a freelance writer.