For Immediate Release
April 26, 2021
College Responds to Southampton’s EMT Training Call
Students listen during a lecture. Suffolk County Community College’s Emergency Medical
Care I course at Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance’s new Windmill Lane facility.
At right: Suffolk County Community College’s Emergency Medical Care and Fire Programs
Coordinator and Professor and Assistant Academic Chair Matt Zukosky.
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training and education is a continuing process of individual certification, reinforcement and the recertification of knowledge and skills.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Suffolk County Community College’s Emergency Medical Care and Fire Programs Coordinator and Professor and Assistant Academic Chair Matt Zukosky knew a creative solution was needed in order to train and keep current the next generation of first responders in Southampton Village. “Ours is an ever-changing body of knowledge and skills and training,” Zukosky said.
Zukosky, a paramedic for 23 years and nearing 30 years involved with fire and emergency medical services, proposed bringing instruction from Suffolk’s Campuses directly to Southampton Village in partnership with the Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance; to the village’s newly opened volunteer ambulance facility that is equipped with state-of-the-art classrooms large enough for students to maintain social distance while learning in person and hands-on.
Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance Chief Cheyne Finocchiaro explained that training courses are typically run by Suffolk County through the Department of Health with few options on the East End. “We were able to work with Matt in developing a program that would offer us a local class. Our goal has always been to host local training,” Finocchiaro, an alumnus of Suffolk County Community College, said.
The College and Village executed an agreement for the spring semester to offer the College’s Emergency Medical Care I course on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to 12 students at the Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance’s new Windmill Lane facility.
“It is so appropriate for us to embed our educational work within the community,” said Dr. Paul Beaudin, Suffolk County Community College’s vice president for academic and student affairs. “Professor Zukosky’s initiative reminds us that where there is a need, that is where we belong,” he said.
“EMTs and paramedics were in high demand prior to the pandemic, but since then the demands have only escalated along with the medical needs of communities,” Zukosky said. “I appreciate the college’s confidence in me to allow an alternate teaching location that will have a great impact in our community. I am also fortunate to have a professional, dedicated, and innovative faculty from within the EMS community.”
National data on the number of EMT openings is unavailable, but pre-pandemic data did show the paramedic/EMT field was growing quickly. Data in 2019 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed the number of EMT and paramedic jobs was expected to grow by 17,000. That's a 6% growth rate, which is higher than the average growth rate of 4%.
Zukosky said the current class will graduate its members this May and that plans are
underway to continue the remote training partnership this fall.