Pope County Judge Ben Cross announced on Monday, May 2, that Pope County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has donated a retired ambulance for use by local paramedic and emergency medical technician (EMT) students served by Arkansas Tech University.
“This is workforce development,” said Pope County Judge Ben Cross. “I hope this will be a tool by which you instill in somebody from the ninth grade on this is their career path. I’m excited about it and we look forward to continuing our partnership with ATU for many years to come.”
Those seeking a career in the paramedic/EMT field may pursue stackable ATU credentials that begin with a Certificate of Proficiency in basic emergency medical technician and build into a Technical Certificate in emergency medical technician and an Associate of Science degree in paramedic/emergency medical services.
Classes toward the credentials listed above are offered in Russellville and Ozark.
“This will be a great asset for our students and our region,” said Bruce Sikes, ATU-Ozark Campus chancellor. “ATU-Ozark is integral in preparing the next generation of paramedics and EMTs for west central Arkansas. Regardless of whether they are adult learners or high school students, they need to see it before they can be it. This resource will help us show them what paramedic services are all about.”
Todd Birkhead serves as chair for the ATU-Ozark paramedic/EMT program. Birkhead, who has more than 20 years of field experience as a paramedic, has led the ATU-Ozark program since 2018.
“The paramedic/EMT program provided by Arkansas Tech University is vital to the emergency medical service industry,” said Doug Duerr, director of Pope County EMS. “Pope County Emergency Medical Services is honored to have been partnered with this program for over 30 years and looks forward to a continued partnership for many years to come. Chancellor Sikes and Mr. Birkhead operate a superb program, which is evident by the quality emergency healthcare providers this program produces.”