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Wake County EMS offers transitional career program for veterans and their spouses

A promotion picture for the Department of Defense's SkillBridge program.
Courtesy of Wake County EMS
A promotion picture for the Department of Defense's SkillBridge program.

Wake County Emergency Medical Services is offering a program to help veterans transition into new careers after leaving the military. It’s through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense’s SkillBridge Program. The partnership allows people in the military to use their active duty job experience as a stepping stone to get internships or apprenticeships in a specific career field.

Service members can start the process during their last 120 days in the military. Spouses of service members can also participate in the program.

Hunter Davis participated in the program and is now an advanced EMT with Wake County Emergency Services. He joined the program during his last few months in the Army on active duty and went through the county’s EMS academy.

“I wanted to go and get a lot more experience than what I had on active duty,” said Davis. “Just last year, I probably ran somewhere around. I think it was 1,200, 1,300, 1,400, calls of 911 responses. That's significantly more than what I was getting when I was active duty.”

Davis said in the military, the training focuses more on managing trauma responses, instead of things like working with pediatric patients or those with congestive heart failure.

But Victoria Huffman, the Commander of Community Outreach with Wake County EMS, said although most military personnel come in as EMT-certified, they are still required to go through Wake County’s EMS academy.

“So, that helps people get hands on,” she said. “You don't get as much patient contact when you're in the military, as when you come out into the civilian world. So having those scenarios, it gives us a way of looking at how your patient assessments are doing, how your skills are doing, your critical thinking and we work on that.”

The program normally takes up to five months but for those who don’t have an EMT certification, it could take up to a year to complete the program.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.
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