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Buffalo: Brown joins AMR for graduation of new EMT class


Tue, Jul 27th 2021 09:50 am

Announces top-of-market pay increase for EMTS under new union agreement

At a time of what his team called “unprecedented public health and staffing challenges,” City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown joined American Medical Response at a ceremony for 21 new EMT professionals who graduated in Buffalo.

The graduates took part in AMR’s award-winning “Earn While You Learn” program and were hired as employees and compensated while attending the company’s EMT-basic certification course. AMR has graduated more than 200 Buffalo-area EMTs since launching the program in 2018. Of those graduates, 47% are women and 53% are minorities.

AMR also announced a four-year agreement with the Teamsters 449 to “substantially” increase wages for Buffalo-area EMTs and paramedics. A press release noted “AMR, the City of Buffalo and the union worked collaboratively to put into place the largest wage increases the City of Buffalo EMS has ever seen, ranging from 18% to 33%, depending on experience.”

Brown said, “When this innovative program was launched in 2018, we had very high hopes for the positive impact of this ‘Earn While You Learn’ opportunity and, through the great partnership between the City of Buffalo, AMR and Teamsters Local 449, it has exceeded our expectations. Today’s announcements take it to the next level at a time when we’re working to expand paid training and well-paying employment opportunities for Buffalo residents and increase the ranks of EMTs as we emerge from the COVID pandemic.”

This is the 15th graduating class since the start of the EWYL program, which was developed in coordination with Brown and Teamsters Local 449. It is also the first time the company ran dual classes, allowing for students to have the flexibility to choose a day or evening program.

The EWYL initiative recruits from across the area and allows trainees to be full-time employees while taking the necessary certification courses to become emergency medical technicians (EMTs). The press release explained, “The program has made a career in emergency medical services more accessible, ensuring a candidate is financially secure while in training.”

To address critical EMS shortages facing the area, Global Medical Response President for the Northeast Region Thomas Maxian also announced AMR would pay existing employees a $2,500 bonus for referring a full-time paramedic, and a $15,000 signing bonus to a full-time paramedic who joins the team. Additionally, it will pay tuition and costs for EMTs to attend advanced EMT or paramedic school, and adjust EMT work schedules to enable EMTs to attend advance EMT or paramedic class.

“We are working hard to create rewarding career paths and opportunities thanks to partnerships like the one we have with the City of Buffalo and Mayor Brown,” Maxian said.

Since launching the EWYL program, AMR has graduated more than 500 EMS professionals and has earned national recognition for the program by the American Ambulance Association. Similar programs have also been launched in Massachusetts, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi and Missouri.

The next academy will start in Buffalo this fall. For more information, or to sign up for the academy, visit www.amrwny.net.

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