CUNY Community Colleges Consortium gets grant from US Department of Labor for BMCC EMS program



Angelica Tejada, Opinions Editor

The CUNY Community Colleges Consortium, including the Borough of Manhattan Community College Continuing Education and Workforce Development division, received a four-year grant of nearly $5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor, which will go toward healthcare job training.

BMCC plans to utilize the funds to expand an emergency medical services pathway program in the Allied Health Department for high school seniors at New York City Career and Technical Education high schools.

The program will allow the students to simultaneously train to become emergency medical technicians and earn college credits toward enrollment in the BMCC Associate in Applied Sciences Paramedic program.

“This grant provides resources that will help these students build a solid foundation to start their careers on, and with additional support,” BMCC Allied Health Science Assistant Professor and Paramedic Program Director Meghan Williams said. “There are multiple important, exciting aspects of this grant. These funds will allow students to enter the career early in high school, it provides additional study and skill support that is necessary to succeed, and it puts them on the path to success.”

The DOL’s Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants Program awarded 11 grants, CUNY being one of the awardees, totaling to $40 million across various industries and states.

Seven of the awarded grants were consortium applications and four were single institutions. Queensborough Community College was the lead applicant at CUNY.

The grants “aim to address the skill development needs of employers and to support workers in gaining skills and transitioning quickly from unemployment to employment,” according to the SCC program.

Also, the grants help build community colleges’ capacity to address difficulties like online learning and navigating the virtual college space during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In New York State, the need for well-trained EMS workers has increased rapidly, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of certified EMS providers in New York has declined 9% in the last ten years, according to the New York State Department of Health Bureau of EMS.

“There are students who display heart, rising over their difficult situations to succeed, but aren’t able to take EMT classes due to the expense,” Williams said. “This gives them the opportunity to become an EMT, and teaches them the additional skills to be successful in EMT just as they’ve demonstrated in their own lives. It’s an exciting new venture and will help to address some of the needs students have, while jump-starting their careers.”