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Mercy Flights Teams Up with Phoenix High School and Rogue Community College to Offer High School Students College Credit towards EMS Career

By June 26, 2024No Comments

Mercy Flights is excited to announce a partnership with Phoenix High School and Rogue Community College on an EMS pilot project, tailored to provide college credit in a high school setting for students interested in a career in EMS. The first class is set to launch in the fall of 2024.

Over the last decade, opportunities for high school students to earn college credit have steadily increased. The ability to offer early career and technical education in a high school setting provides a better foundation for students to choose what career field will best suit their passion and learning style.

Over the last 12 months, Mercy Flights, Phoenix High School, and Rogue Community College have joined forces to build a curriculum that will provide insight and education surrounding a career in healthcare. Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive their Basic Life Support (BLS) certificate, while also earning four college credits through Rogue Community College’s Introduction to Emergency Services course.

Rusty Riis, Rogue Community College EMS Department Chair states, “Innovative partnerships like this create valuable opportunities for students and strengthen the Emergency Services Industry. High school and college programs allow students to explore careers and earn free college credits in their classrooms, reducing their overall college costs.” Riis continues, “Breaking these barriers is a key focus of the partnerships between the college and industry partners.”

Phoenix High School opened the EMT class to students at the end of the 2023-2024 school year and had an overwhelmingly positive response, receiving over 50 registrations ranging from sophomores to seniors. The program is open to all students who complete prerequisite courses, including Emergency Care and Prevention.

The classroom setting will consist of a Phoenix High School health educator and a Mercy Flights instructor who will co-teach the Introduction to EMS curriculum approved by Rogue Community College. These hours spent in the classroom will count towards college credit, moving students closer to their educational goal once they graduate high school. Phoenix High School Superintendent, Brent Barry states, “A traditional four-year college education is not always possible for students due to a variety of reasons. Providing an opportunity in high school for students to gain college credits will positively position their next steps once they graduate high school. Our vision for this collaboration is to ultimately see more students enter the healthcare workforce.”

Aligning with Mercy Flights’ Southern Oregon EMS Apprenticeship Program (SOEMSAP) that debuted in early 2023, this partnership parallels Mercy Flights’ vision of expanding and diversifying a pool of EMS professionals in our region, while also contributing and addressing the forecasted healthcare workforce crisis.

Sheila Clough, Mercy Flights CEO shares, “Over the last year Mercy Flights has come alongside apprentice participants to provide education, hands-on work in an EMS setting, and provide a living wage as students work towards their goals of becoming a healthcare professional. It is our desire that our partnership with Phoenix High School and Rogue Community College will continue to strengthen our efforts in building the next generation of healthcare professionals, while providing opportunities for those who never thought college was obtainable.” Clough continues, “We are grateful for the collaboration from our education partners, this is a testament that we are all in this together, working towards a healthier community.”

Clough noted that Phoenix High School students may also choose to participate in the Mercy Flights Explorer Post 131 program. The Explorer program is an interactive, worksite-based career education program that focuses on a single career field such as fire, EMS, and law enforcement. The program gives youth and young adults (14-20 years of age) insight into the world of emergency medical services (EMS). The Mercy Flights Explorer program provides students with relevant training and acts as an extension of Mercy Flights Inc. through community service projects and outreach. For younger students who do not have the prerequisites required to take the college credit classes, this is another way to get involved and learn more about the EMS profession.

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