The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Johnson County EMT apprenticeship reports strong start

The Johnson County Ambulance Department will continue the apprenticeships using American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Theodore Retsinas
EMT apprentice Imonie Eicher poses for a portrait in a Johnson County Ambulance at the Johnson County Ambulance Facility in Iowa City on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023.

Johnson County officials called the emergency medical technician apprenticeship that launched in June a “raving success.”

The EMT apprenticeship is the first role in the federal COVID-19 relief-funded apprenticeship program. The program was created to provide job opportunities to diverse and underrepresented community members.

Fiona Johnson, the director of the county’s ambulance, said the ambulance department considers the program an asset.

The county also recently added IT and engineering technician apprenticeships to the program, which was approved by the supervisors on Sept. 7.

The county allocated $800,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to the apprenticeship programs through fiscal 2026. The funds cover the cost of the University of Iowa’s 16-week EMT program course, as well as the cost of books, uniforms, and certification testing.

EMT apprentice Imonie Eicher said the program started at the perfect time and gave her a chance to get her foot in the door.

A mother of three, Eicher needed the ability to work 40 hours a week while taking university classes. She is considered an employee of Johnson County and receives full-time wages and benefits.

Eicher said this is just the beginning of her career, and her end goal is to become a neonatal intensive care unit nurse.

“My kids were all premature and spent about two months in the NICU,” Eicher said. “Being there started my want to go into the medical field.”

Before she started at the UI in August, Eicher earned several emergency medical certifications and acquired on-the-job experience. The apprenticeship allows Eicher to ride on the ambulance, job shadow, and assist with patient care.

This background will allow Eicher to enter EMT education with an established foundation and skills in the program.

Johnson County DEI coordinator Paola Jaramillo Guayara said the goal of the program is to lower barriers for positions with education or certification requirements that create obstacles for people to enter a chosen career path.

RELATED: JoCo supervisors give $1.3 million in supplementary funds to county ambulance services

Jaramillo Guayara said the program drives workforce development in Johnson County and will produce a highly qualified, competitive candidate from the community.

Eicher’s apprenticeship will end in June 2024, however, the ambulance department announced continuing the program with new apprentices.

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About the Contributors
Roxy Ekberg
Roxy Ekberg, Politics Reporter
Roxy Ekberg is a first year at the University of Iowa. In the Honors Program, she is double majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in Spanish. Prior to her role as a politics reporter, she worked news reporter at the Daily Iowan and worked at her local newspaper The Wakefield Republican.
Theodore Retsinas
Theodore Retsinas, Photojournalist
Theodore Retsinas is a freshman at the University of Iowa studying Neuroscience.