Hamilton Schools and Hamilton Fire Department team up

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

A federal grant to ease the transition from life as a student to the working world beyond the classroom is helping young adults at Hamilton Township High School consider a career in the fire service as an EMT.

The two-credit, year-long course meets three times a week incorporates hands-on learning leading to a certificate from Grant Medical Center and the opportunity to obtain a state license after turning age 18.

Mike Morbitzer, Hamilton Local Schools Director of Standards and Federal Programs, said the first class was held in 2019-20 and had four students. Three students are in this year’s class.

“Instruction and training equipment is provided by the Hamilton Township Fire Department and OhioHealth Grant Medical Center EMS Education,” said Hamilton Township Fire Department Captain Wade Edwards.

The class consists of lectures, hands-on skills, and clinical rotations totaling 220 hours. All of the classes are conducted at the high school, except for final testing, which is held at Grant Medical Center.

According to Edwards, the program is overseen by Grant’s EMS Education, which provides all course material and guidelines. The fire department supplies most of the training equipment and instruction and Hamilton Schools provides academic advisors.

“The three entities have come together to provide a great opportunity for students,” said Edwards. “These students will have a lot of job opportunities coming right out of high school, working as a first responder with fire and EMS or working in the private sector in EMS. Also working in the clinics, hospitals, and extended care facilities. They can advance in the field to paramedics, nursing, or a physician.”

Edwards said colleges often give credit hours for the EMT course at the high school to go toward a degree in the medical field.

“It is my pleasure to work with these students,” said Edwards. “I find it very rewarding to see the students get excited to help someone who is having a bad day and in need of help. They are willing to make a commitment to make a difference in the world we live in one patient at a time.”

In 2018, Edwards started working with Morbitzer—who secured a $106,000 Expanding Opportunities for Each Child grant to get the class started—and his wife, Carole, who is the district’s director of Teaching and Learning, along with a high school team, to plan and organize the class for the 2019-20 school year.

Carole helped Edwards organize the curriculum and Mike coordinates with the captain to align the course with the district’s pathways program. Director of Alternative Programs Allyson Price also provides resources to Edwards and learning guidance to students.

“Our career pathways also are coordinated with Capitol City Trailers, City BBQ, and Obetz, which provides internships to juniors and seniors,” said Mike, who is also working with the Olen Corp to create a mining engineering pathway and with AEP on a lineworker program. “When we can build student career pathways and local services at the same time, we contribute to building a better community.”

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