$500,000 grant helps Prairie State College start a paramedic training program

Prairie State College is using a $500,000 grant from Cook County to establish a paramedic training program that will begin accepting students this fall.

The Urban Area Security Initiative Award was given to PSC by the county’s Department of Emergency Management & Regional Security. Andy Binanti, dean of PSC’s Allied Health and Emergency Services programs, said the grant will help cover costs as PSC gets the paramedic program up and running. 

PSC has certification programs in emergency medical technican (EMT) and fire science. 

“Over the last three to five years, we’ve had increased interest in these programs, and they have expanded since then,” Binanti said.

PSC’s curriculum includes an associate’s degree in fire science, and certificate programs in fire science technology, basic firefighter operations, advance firefighter, firefighter/EMT, EMT medical technician and fire responder.

Binanti said students can enroll in the EMT program first. Once they receive their EMT certificate, they can begin working while they complete the paramedic program to earn an associate’s degree.

Binanti said PSC EMT and fire science courses operate from a Matteson location. They are under the direction of Chad Vlietstra who serves as the programs’ coordinator and a faculty member, in addition to being the fire chief for South Chicago Heights.

PSC fire science courses are covered by the U of I Fire Service Institute. The institute coordinates all programs throughout Illinois that are approved by the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal.

For information on any of these programs, contact PSC at 708-709-3500.

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