LaGuardia Community College loses EMT program but gains citizenship classes

A graduate of a special program at LaGuardia Community College receives his certificate in EMT training.
Courtesy LaGuardia Community College
By Bill Parry

A unique program at LaGuardia Community College may have come to an end last week with 30 graduates of SAVE-EMT received their diplomas at the Long Island City campus.

The free program, open to unemployed or underemployed New Yorkers, provides the opportunity to pursue well-paying careers as emergency medical technicians leading to candidacies to work for the FDNY, area hospitals, and other institutions. The U.S. Department of Labor grant that funded the program for the last three years is ending so the 30 graduates could be the last, although program directors have begun discussions with elected and city officials to establish long-term partnerships and support.

Meanwhile, LaGuardia Community College’s Center for Immigrant Education and Training has partnered with Catholic Migration Services to provide adult New Yorkers with access to free U.S citizenship classes and legal services.

“This new program is exactly what our nation needs right now: provide education and legal assistance to help immigrant New Yorkers of good standing to make the United States their home with all the rights and privileges that come from being a U.S. citizen,” LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow said. “Being able to vote, to serve as a sponsor for family members to move to the U.S. from other countries and more.”

The first class began earlier this month and more classes will be offered over the next two years. The program aims to assist low-income, low and intermediate level adult English language learners improve their language skills.

“Our English as a second language programs have become national models for the use of contextualized instruction — in which industry-specific materials are used to teach basic academic and technical skills,” LaGuardia’s executive director for Adult Community Learning, John Hunt, said. “In this English and Citizenship program, U.S. history and civics information will be integrated into English language skills coursework. Students will, for example, improve their English skills by reading about the U.S. Constitution, and will practice speaking English by talking about our branches of government. Studies have shown that adult learners are much more engaged in coursework if they believe the material is directly relevant to them.”

More than 9,000 adults have been served by LaGuardia’s Center for Immigrant Education and Training since it opened in 2001. It has been ranked highly proficient in the state Education Department’s adult education report card rating each fiscal year.

New Yorkers interested in the program should visit tinyurl.com/LaGuardiaCitizenship or visit the Center for Immigrant Education and Training at LaGuardia Community College, located at 29-10 Thomson Ave., Room C-239 or call (718) 482-5460.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

More from Around New York