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Port Arthur residents can get paid to attend EMT classes. See how.

Port Arthur residents interested in becoming an EMT could soon do so for free while getting paid following a partnership between the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation and Acadian Ambulance Services.

The agreement, which was approved this week by city council, would allow for 20 Port Arthur residents to enter a 13-week class, paid for by Acadian, while earning $7.50 an hour through the EDC.

“Acadian Ambulance has agreed to hire everyone that completes the training program,” said Floyd Batiste, executive director of the EDC. “Acadian has also said…(it) will pay for the EMT training that is a year or two years if they stay on.”

The first course is available to those without any previous training, said Eddie Burleigh, Acadian Ambulance Southeast Texas operations manager.

Entry-level EMTs learn how to ventilate, fibrillate, control bleeding, bandage wounds, splinter strains and breaks, deliver infants, operate emergency vehicles and use proper communication skills.

Tuition for the course, according to information on Acadian’s website, starts at $1,500. However, through the partnership with the EDC, the 20 Port Arthur residents selected will have their tuition waived.

Scholarships are available for those who want to continue training while working and earn their paramedic certification through the 15-month course.

EMTs on average start out at approximately $30,000 annually, and paramedics average $45,000 annually, as stated on the company’s website.

The workforce training agreement between the EDC and Acadian states that the ambulance company will select the 20 Port Arthur students and then provide the EDC with reports on their class attendance record.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Cal Jones and Mayor Thurman Bartie expressed concern that the funding could go to people outside the city.

“I see a lot of people working, and stop me if I’m wrong, but I see a lot of people working on ambulances and I know they’re not from Port Arthur,” Bartie said.

Batiste said selected applicants would have to show a photo ID and a current utility bill.

“We only pay for training for Port Arthur residents, nobody else,” he said. “We cannot pay for someone from Nederland, Port Neches or Groves. This type of training is specifically for Port Arthur residents.”

EMT classes begin every fall and spring, and are hosted in Beaumont at 550 Interstate 10 South, Suite 200.

Those interested in learning more can email recruiting@acadian.com.