COLERAIN – EMS Week passed a week ago, but it was celebrated in a noteworthy way among Roanoke-Chowan area EMT’s and other practitioners of emergency medicine and the public health safety net. Whether they are fire fighters, saving lives from trauma, or transporting Ebola patients, they show caring and compassion to patients in their most difficult time.
At the Bertie County Commissioners meeting here May 18, Dr. Michael Elam, President of Roanoke-Chowan Community College, highlighted the Emergency Services programs offered at the college. His remarks were within his program update presentation to the Commissioners.
Accompanying Elam were RCCC Emergency Services Coordinator Kelly Wiggins, and RCCC Emergency Services Director Fred Curley.
“We now have 11 students in the CADET class, and this is really impressive considering we normally lose half our students and we are really doing very well,” Wiggins said.
The CADET program is a new partnership project between the college and the Bertie County Board of Education whereby high school students take EMS/EMT courses.
“You can see it in their eyes when they get the bug,” she added, “whether it’s EMS, fire, or law enforcement.”
There is also a nighttime adult EMS/EMT class offered at the old Bertie High School on US 13 South, and Wiggins said those 22 students should finish at the same time as the CADETS.
Commission Vice-Chairman Tammy Lee said several of the Commissioners would like to attend the graduation ceremony.
Wiggins said a new EMT Basic course, and EMT Basic-to-Paramedic course, a 12-month program, along with a Basic Law Enforcement course will begin in early summer at the EMS Building in Windsor.
“This is great because that’s going to bring more home-grown Paramedics to our program,” she stated.
Additionally, they said that Basic Law Enforcement training and fire training was being completed around the county.
Curley noted that a new program was being put together for the department that would address various situations that could produce wholesale casualties, including natural disasters, and other critical-care situations.
“We’re working with federal resources to put that program together,” Curley announced. “Once we have it in place, Bertie would be one of the first places they would come to put that in place.”
Following the EMS presentation, Elam announced that the enrollment for the entire RCCC campus had risen eight percent from 2014, and that roughly one-third of all Bertie High graduates are opting to attend the community college.
“We want more,” Elam said. “We’re going after those students who aren’t going to a four-year college or into the military.”
Elam said to meet the unmet needs of some of the Bertie students at RCCC, a student-worker program has been created to assist them. He also reported that a total of 80 students were currently enrolled in the Basic Skills/GED program at RCCC through the sites at All God’s Children Fellowship Hall in Aulander and at West Bertie Elementary School in Kelford.
Dr. Elam also updated the Board about the latest efforts in securing an RCCC satellite campus and that the college was working closely with the county on negotiations with the Bertie Board of Education in securing the old Bertie High School as the first, full satellite campus to offer a variety of classes and programs they hope to continue.
“We’d like to make that basically a permanent location,” Elam said. “We’ve set up some office space to make us more visible and make that connection with the students.”
Elam also proudly singled out the newest Governor’s appointee to the college’s Board of Trustees in Julie Terry as the Bertie County representative.
“She’s doing a fine job going through all of her training and has actually assisted us in having 300 young people on campus to experience the college environment,” Elam noted. “It was just a wonderful opportunity and we will continue to do that.”
Elam commented on recent events hosted by the college such as the middle school robotics competition. He also pointed to programs such as culinary arts, welding, and CNA as relevant to the current education climate.
“We will try to be responsive to those needs,” Elam said.
The president said the Region-Q Workforce Board has approved the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult and Dislocated Worker program and services training; and that it will be administered by RCCC for Hertford and Bertie counties.
“We’ll be offering those services through the Bertie County and the NCWorks Center Data Center on our campus,” he informed the Commissioners.
Finally, Elam thanked County Manager Scott Sauer for his cooperation, communication and continued relationship with his office and the college.
“I think action speaks louder than words, and I hope that our actions so far have shown you that we are serious about the work of education changing people’s lives,” Elam concluded as he made an appeal for consideration in the upcoming county budget.
“You’ve been a great partner,” said Commission chairman Ron Wesson, “and continue to do good work because we have a lot of ills that need fixing so you are a real part of what we need.”