SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Officials from American Medical Response of Springfield and Mayor Domenic Sarno congratulated AMR’s 7th graduating class of EMTs from their Earn While You Learn program Friday.

The Earn While You Learn class makes trainees full-time employees while taking the courses and getting the certification they need to become emergency medical technicians, a cost-free way to begin a career. The Earn While You Learn program was developed to address the shortage of EMTs during the pandemic.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood were among the city officials and proud family member who gathered for the graduates.

“Music to my ears, the majority of these graduates are Springfield residents, beautiful cross section, mosaic of the city of Springfield, very diversified program and they are out there saving lives so we appreciate it,” said Mayor Sarno.

Awards for outstanding and dedicated service were distributed at the ceremony as well. 22News spoke to one honoree who received an award for successfully treating a patient in cardiac arrest. He said the work he does as a first responder is so rewarding.

“It’s probably by far the most rewarding experience I have ever had in my entire life. To wake up everyday and serve the people of this city in their time of need, there’s nothing more rewarding,” said Benjamin Wright.

Trainees in the Earn While You Learn program are guaranteed a full-time position with AMR upon graduation.