PERINTON, N.Y. (WROC) – This week marked EMS week, an opportunity to recognize and show appreciation for first responders.

With an ongoing staffing shortage seen locally and nationwide, part of the week included a push for more EMTs and paramedics.

A training program here at home is finding success in getting students ready for the workforce.

Seetha Nathan is working toward a future path in medical school, and says she’s already gotten a head start in getting there as a trainee in an emergency services program offered through Monroe One BOCES.

“We are the people that get the patients first, and then hand them off to the doctors once in the hospital. For me being a doctor in the future, it’s just really giving respect to those that take care of people before I get them,” said Nathan.

The two-year course is offered for free at Perinton Ambulance and gives students hands-on experience a bit sooner in their careers.

With 20 years of paramedic experience, Sean O’Donnell spearheads the curriculum, and says the program offers a much more affordable option in streamlining the process to certify EMTs.

“When they take dual enrollment classes through MCC and high schools, the cost is much, much less than standard tuition. Students really get a great opportunity to earn high school credit and college credit in this program. It’s really the best bang for their buck,” said O’Donnell.

By the program’s end, O’Donnell says students are well-equipped to put these skills to use.

Nathan adds the work prepares them for other areas as well.

“We’ve had other opportunities for exposures in other fields, so this is a great opportunity for others in the medical field, too,” said Nathan.

The program initially requires a Certified First Responder (CFR) exam, followed by the two years of preparation, leading trainees toward the state’s EMT Basic Certification exam. Those interested in learning more, can visit resources via Monroe One BOCES website.